State Capitol News
4:49 am
Mon March 30, 2009

AZ Democrats release budget plan

Phoenix, AZ – House Democrats came up with their own plan today to balance the
state budget. And it involves higher taxes. Arizona Public
Radio's Howard Fischer explains.

Some elements are not surprising, like allowing the currently
suspended state property tax to return to generate about $250
million. But Democrats also want to suspend the dollar-for-dollar
tax credits individuals and businesses now can take for donating
to organizations that help students attend private and parochial
schools. Democratic Whip Chad Campbell said that doesn't
necessarily mean students will shift to public schools and raise
costs there. He specifically mentioned Brophy, a Catholic high
school for boys in Phoenix.

"That's a great school. And I think it's doing a great job of
education its students. But utilizing public dollars to send kids
to Brophy that could afford it otherwise is not the wisest use of
taxpayer dollars."

The Democrats also want to repeal a 10 percent cut in individual
income taxes enacted four years ago -- but only for those earning
more than $150,000 a year. Campbell sidestepped the question of
whether that is class warfare.

"Let me answer it this way: If you close this loophole and revert
this back to the pre-2005 level, we are still nowhere near any
other state for the most part, maybe a couple of exceptions, in
terms of our income tax levels for any class, no matter what
class level you're talking about."

Either proposal would require a two-thirds vote, making enactment
in the Republican-controlled Legislature doubtful at best.