State Capitol News
10:03 am
Fri January 15, 2010

Governor proposes package of major cuts

Phoenix, AZ – The state is still trying to plug a $1.4 billion hole that
remains in this year's budget. And the deficit for next year is
estimated at $3.2 billion. Brewer continues to demand a temporary
sales tax hike to bridge part of the gap. But now there's a
twist: She wants lawmakers to enact it themselves in the next few
weeks to allow the higher levy to take effect March 1. That would
require a two-thirds vote of both the House and Senate. The House
barely got a majority for Brewer's original proposal to send the
issue to the ballot. And the Senate never did. Gubernatorial
press aide Paul Senseman said things have changed.

(I think the reality and increasing severity of our state budget
deficit and its problems will convince many folks of the
necessity of decisive and couragous actions on the state budget
plan.)

And Brewer wants to start taxing labor on repair services for
everything from automobiles to home appliances. But even if
lawmakers go along, the governor is proposing significant cuts.
These include having counties house their own juvenile offenders,
killing state funding for full-day kindergarten, repealing a
mandate to care for the seriously mentally ill, eliminating free
health care for hundreds of thousands and cutting state worker
pay by 5 percent. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard
Fischer.