A judge has overturned a state official's decision to keep a proposed sales tax increase off Arizona's November ballot because of a paperwork error.
If Judge Robert Oberbillig's ruling stands, the ruling means the proposed penny-on-the-dollar increase goes on the ballot if petition checks confirm that supporters submitted enough voter signatures.
Assistant Secretary of State Jim Drake said a decision will be made by Friday whether to appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court.
Secretary of State Ken Bennett had said the initiative petitions were invalid because a paper copy of the initiative submitted to his office omitted two paragraphs. They specified how some of the revenue would be spent.
Oberbillig said what was important was that all the copies with petitions for voters to sign had the correct text.
"Judge Oberbillig's ruling reaffirms what the Arizona's Constitution and state law make very clear - a hyper-technicality is never grounds to overturn the rights of Arizona voters," said Ann-Eve Pedersen, chair of the Quality Education and Jobs campaign. "Education opponents know there is vast popular support for this initiative, so they had to resort to these types of desperate measures to try to keep it off the ballot."
The Quality Education and Jobs initiative will renew the 1-cent sales tax when it expires in 2013 to provide dedicated, permanent revenue to provide basic funding for education that the Legislature cannot cut. Prop. 204 will support education across the spectrum: K-12, charter schools, vocational education, community colleges, universities and GED programs.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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