State Capitol News
10:50 pm
Wed April 30, 2008

Governor lobbies for university bonding plan

Phoenix, AZ – Governor Janet Napolitano made a personal plea to lawmakers today to fund a 1-point-4 billion bonding plan for state universities. But Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports not everyone is
convinced.


The plan would fund new research facilities, catch up on deferred
repairs and complete construction of the new medical school in
Phoenix. It also would put the state on the hook to repay $82
million a year for 25 years at a time when expenses already
exceed tax collections. That bothered Senate Majority Leader
Thayer Verschoor.

(I don't have any desire, nor do I believe most of the people in
this body have any desire to raise taxes. Plus I think that would
send the wrong message to the business community and would not be
an economic incentive but would hurt our economy if we were to
raise taxes to pay for this. And if you continue to incur this
type of debt, sooner or later you're going to have to do that.)

But university officials insist the plan will generate more in
economic development than it costs, a view shared by the
governor.

(Quite frankly the way you come out of a recession is you keep
building. And you keep building in a way that increases capacity
we know we need. We know we need larger institutions of higher
education. We know we have more students coming to the system. We
know that for too long we've been paying cash for building
expenses we should be paying for over time. That's what this
package does.)

At this point there is no plan to actually put the package up for
a vote.

For Arizona Public Radio, this is Howard Fischer.