State Capitol News
8:37 am
Fri August 27, 2010

Goddard says Brewer hiding true condition of state budget

Phoenix, AZ – Goddard and Brewer spoke Thursday to the annual meeting of the
League of Arizona Cities and Towns, each seeking to score points
and pick up votes. But much of the differences in their views
about the economy and state spending showed up in interviews
after the event. Goddard said some estimates show that the state
could still be a billion dollars in the red for the current
budget year. And that's even counting on the proceeds from a
temporary one-cent sales tax. He said Brewer should call
lawmakers into special session to fix the situation, especially
if one option will be more cuts to public education.

(Jan Brewer's not saying anything about that. She wants that
decision, she wants that discussion to go past the election and
then sort of suddenly spring that on the Arizona voters. I don't
intend to let that happen. It seems to me we've got to face up to
the fact there's a serious problem, it has to be dealt with. And
both funding options and additional cut options need to be put on
the table.)

But Goddard, while saying more money needs to be raised, was
unwilling to detail exactly where he thinks those dollars should
come from.

(It seems to me that what you have to do, on an emergency basis,
is pull together the stakeholders and the legislature and get a
proposal done. And I can't dictate what the absolute details of
that proposal are. They're going to have to be worked out through
the political process.)

He said one starting point would be looking at expanding the
state sales tax to cover services which now are exempt. Brewer,
for her part, told the audience of city officials how much better
the state is doing since she took over in January 2009 after
Janet Napolitano quit to take a job in the Obama administration.

(We've changed everything. Arizona is moving again. I believe our
glorious state has been revived. I believe it has been renewed. I
believe faith in ourself is being restored.)

But Brewer, talking to reporters after the speech, brushed aside
questions of why the unemployment rate, 7.0 percent when Brewer
took office, is now at 9.6 percent -- higher than the national
figure -- and has remained there for months.

(You know, the bottom line is we that have brought new jobs into
Arizona and we're going to continue to move more jobs and
corporations into Arizona. We've been very, very successful in
these last 600 days. The bottom is we have a plan and we're going
to continue to encourage jobs. Bottom line is in order to get
corporations and jobs established they need a stable, predictable
government. And that's what we have done.)

She said that plan includes a moratorium she imposed on new state
rules and regulations which she said often get in the way of
companies seeking to expand. But that still leaves the fact that
unemployment in Arizona remains high. Brewer responded by blaming
Washington.

(And I will guarantee you that we will keep pushing back against
the federal government and all their mandates and their spending
and their issues that they keep pushing on down to the states.
It's an uphill battle to look at the federal government and to
see what they are doing to our country and trying to impose upon
that upon our state.)

Brewer and Goddard did agree on one point: The state needs to
look at its tax structure -- especially how it imposes taxes on
certain kinds of corporations -- because the current system makes
Arizona uncompetitive with many other states. For Arizona Public
Radio this is Howard Fischer.