Voter Approved Investment in Education Act Declared Unconstitutional

A Maricopa County judge ruled Friday that a voter-approved income tax increase for wealthy Arizonans to fund public schools violates the state constitution, though he made it clear he wasn’t particularly happy about it.

The ruling was widely expected in the wake of an Arizona Supreme Court ruling last year that nearly declared school spending unconstitutional.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah’s ruling may well be the final blow to Proposition 208, which voters approved in the November 2020 election. The measure raised taxes on wealthier Arizonans to provide new funding for K-12 education. But the initiative ran afoul of a 1980 amendment to the Arizona Constitution that imposed a formula-based aggregate spending cap on school districts.


The Arizona Supreme Court ruled in August that Prop. 208 would violate the state constitution if the income you provided exceeded the aggregate spending limit and therefore could not be used by school districts. The judges sent the case back to Hannah to determine if the money would, in fact, exceed that limit. If so, the high court said it must find Prop. 208 unconstitutional.

That is exactly what Hannah did in her decision on Friday.

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