Lawmakers debate budget plan
Phoenix, AZ – Much of it involves borrowing. That includes trying to get $450
million by June 30 by pledging future proceeds from the Arizona
Lottery. Then there's the plan to sell off another $300 million
of state buildings and lease them back. That's on top of $735
million already sold. $350 million in payments to public schools
would be delayed as would another $100 million owed to
universities. And finally there's the plan to ask voters for a
temporary one-cent increase in state sales taxes. Several
Republicans are opposed to higher taxes, even if the question
goes to voters. But Senate Minority Leader Jorge Garcia said some
Democrats will support it, something they refused to do before.
(We're hoping that it reduces the need to cut by $1 billion. I
think the time has come to where it's become from push to shove.
I think we're to shove now.)
Garcia fears that without higher sales taxes the Republicans who
control the Legislature might eliminate programs important to
Democrats. But even if voters approve the tax hike in May, the
cash won't start rolling into the state treasury until the new
fiscal year begins July 1. What it would do, though, is provide
some additional cash for the three budget years to come. For
Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.