Proposed sales tax hike may go to voters

Phoenix, AZ – Senate President Bob Burns said Wednesday Republican lawmakers
are probably going to have to give Governor Jan Brewer the tax
hike SHE demands to get the spending package THEY want.

After meeting with the governor, Burns said Brewer won't back
away from her call for a one-cent hike in the state's 5.6 percent
sales tax. He said the fact GOP lawmakers were able to craft an
$8.2 billion budget for the coming year without it has not
convinced her otherwise. And Burns said that means Republicans
will have to revise their plan and agree to at least put the
issue to voters.

"It was never completely off the table. I mean, it's always been
the last item on the table. And, so, we're down to the last

The plan would put the question on the 2010 ballot. While that
won't help this year's budget problems, it would provide
assistance once federal stimulus funds dry up. House Minority
Leader David Lujan who also met with Brewer said the governor
told him she's likely to need some Democratic votes to get a
budget of her liking.

"She said she told the Republicans two weeks ago that they were
being stubborn and she could be just as stubborn and that she's
not going to blink and that she's going to shut down state
government if we can't get a budget deal reached."

Gubernatorial press aide Paul Senseman called that a -- quote --
way, way, way overgenarlization. But he conceded that Brewer is
looking at what might happen if there is no new budget when the
current fiscal year runs out June 30.