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Campaign to block tax cuts hires signature-gatherers ahead of September deadline

By: - September 15, 2021 2:58 pm
TaiAnna Yee signs a petition

TaiAnna Yee (left) signs one of the three petitions that the Invest in Arizona campaign is gathering signatures for to overturn three laws Republican legislators passed to cut taxes and revenue for a voter-approved education fund on Saturday, July 14 in Tempe. The Invest in Arizona campaign must gather over 110,000 signatures by the end of September. They are facing a lawsuit to end the campaign on state constitutional grounds. Photo by Laura Gómez | Arizona Mirror

The Invest in Arizona coalition seeking to let voters decide the fate of a massive tax-cut package approved by Republican lawmakers this year has ramped up hiring of paid circulators to gather signatures ahead of a deadline that is less than two weeks away.  

In order to force a public vote in 2022 on three new laws lauded by Gov. Doug Ducey as “the single largest tax cut in Arizona history” from taking effect, the campaign must collect at least 118,823 valid signatures by Sept. 28. 

The coalition has three signature gathering firms with paid employees out in the field boosting their volunteer efforts: Fieldworks, a Washington-D.C. based group; Sand Hill Associates, a South Dakota company; and Phoenix-based La Machine Consulting, according to the Arizona Secretary of State’s database of paid circulators

The bulk of the paid signature-gatherers are contracted with Fieldworks, the records show. 

The number of paid signature gatherers for each of the three referendum campaigns has grown steadily over time. In July, when the effort began, there were about 45. By August, that number jumped to more than 150. Now there are about 200 paid circulators for each initiative. 

“The uptick in activity gives us extreme confidence that we are going to be able to get this win for kids in Arizona,” said Beth Lewis, the president of Save Our Schools AZ, a teacher-led movement born in 2018 to increase funding of public schools. 

Lewis said her group is mainly managing the volunteer efforts to gather signatures, and is relying on its statewide network of teachers, parents and allies of public schools to get the three measures on the 2022 ballot. 

“We’re really excited to see the tremendous energy on the volunteer side, we have so many parents and teachers who are involved and continue to get and stay involved,” Lewis said. “It’s been a joy to see that people are working in this heat to protect our schools and keep a billion dollars in our classrooms.”

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Laura Gómez
Laura Gómez

Reporter Laura Gómez Rodriguez covers state politics and immigration for the Arizona Mirror. She was named Best Investigative Reporter by Phoenix Magazine in its 2018 newspaper category and has been honored by the Arizona Press Club for education, immigration, political, and public safety reporting and Spanish-language news and feature reporting. Laura worked for The Arizona Republic and La Voz Arizona for four years, covering city government, economic development, immigration, politics and trade. In 2017, Laura traveled the length of the U.S.-Mexico border for “The Wall,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning project produced by The Arizona Republic and USA Today Network. She is a native of Bogotá, Colombia and lived in Puerto Rico and Boston before moving to Phoenix in 2014. Catch her researching travel deals, feasting on mariscos or playing soccer.

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