Governor Jan Brewer said today she's opposed to the ballot measure to permanently extend the one-cent surcharge on the state sales tax.
It was Brewer who promoted the original voter-approved levy in 2010 to help balance the budget, with the idea it would disappear in three years. Now a group is pushing an initiative to make the extra tax permanent, with the proceeds specifically earmarked for K-12 education, university scholarships, health care and road construction. Brewer said this is a bad idea.
"I believe that is just is hindering the hands of the Arizona Legislature," the Governor said. "And I think there's too many areas of where it goes. And I don't think that it ought to be put in the position of where they have placed it to serve the Arizona people well."
Initiative organizer Ann-Eve Pedersen acknowledged the measure would dictate to lawmakers how the approximately $1 billion a year has to be spent. But she said that is by design.
"And that's because voters do not like what the Legislature has been doing with their tax dollars," Pedersen said. "And they want those dollars directed to their top priorities. And education is their top funding priority."
The governor conceded she would be opposed to extending the tax even if the decision on how to spend the proceeds were left up to lawmakers. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.