State Capitol News
11:54 am
Fri July 31, 2009

Republicans hunting for budget votes

Phoenix, AZ – Senate Republican leaders are trying to round up the votes for
the budget deal they negotiated the governor after the session
collapsed this morning when several of their members refused to
go along.

Senate President Bob Burns found himself short of the 16 votes
necessary out of the 18 member Republican caucus for various
elements of the package. One of the disputes is over the proposal
to ask voters to put a three-year surcharge on the state sales
tax. But even a personal plea from Gov. Jan Brewer to holdout
Pamela Gorman came up empty. Burns also has the problem that some
of his members are gone on long-planned vacations.

"So, obviously, if we can't work it out within our Republican
caucus, then we're going to have to go to Plan 2. And we're going
to have to working with the D's."

That means Democrats. Assisant Senate Minority Leader Rebecca
Rios said members of her caucus are willing to provide the votes
to refer that sales tax hike to the ballot to raise up to $1
billion a year from consumers -- if GOP leaders and the governor
see things their way.

"Democrats are insistent that we protect education and don't make
major cuts to education or crucial social services to children.
Republicans want to give away tax breaks. So that's where things
disintegrate."

In specific terms, Rios said the package has to be stripped of
plans to repeal the state property tax at a cost of $250 million
and to enact $400 million in corporate and individual income tax
cuts in 2011.