KNAU and Arizona News
3:38 pm
Thu October 7, 2010

Goddard Reveals Plan to Balance Budget

Phoenix, AZ – The latest estimates put the deficit at around $825 million. That
assumes voters reject Propositions 301 and 302 to let the state
take money now set aside for open space and the First Things
First early childhood development program. Goddard said he
opposes both. His alternative?

(It would involve taking a loan from First Things First which I
believe will survive this election for $350 million. It would
involve refunding our state's debts, which would bring at least
$250 million. It would involve additional rollover -- I don't
like that term, but that's what we would need to do -- $100
million. And a transfer of funds for another $100 million, or 125
to make the 825.)

Goddard conceded that, with the exception of the transfers, all
those are simply short- and long-term borrowing and don't solve
the bigger problem that Arizona is still spending more than it
collects. But he said it would give state leaders time to find
more permanent solutions. His suggestions involve eliminating
various tax exemptions.

(Can we really afford to justify making a special exception for
accounting for corporate purposes when all the accounting is now
done by computer automatically. $20 million right there. Can we
still afford or justify having country club memberships and spa
memberships exempt from taxes? Can we still justify having
automobile warranties, another $20 million, exempt from taxes.

Brewer has been against such moves, saying they amount to tax
hikes. And gubernatorial press aide Paul Senseman said the state
wouldn't have this big a problem except for the Obama
administration.

(What the state budget was that was proposed and passed already
was a reduction in the eligibility limits, moving Arizona's
coverage from number 6 in the country to somewhere in the middle,
in the median average of states.)

That law would have ended free health care for about 330,000
Arizonans and saved $400 million this year. But that had to be
repealed because the new federal health care law says states
which reduce coverage will lose all future federal health care
funding. Senseman said Brewer believes the solution to the
state's budget problems is to repeal the federal law and let the
state trim its health care program. For Arizona Public Radio this
is Howard Fischer.