State Capitol News
8:32 am
Tue January 20, 2009

Senate President Refuses Possible Raising of Taxes

Phoenix, AZ – Senate President Bob Burns said today he's not interested in
giving voters the option of raising taxes, even temporarily, as
an alternative to cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in
state aid to education.

The economic slump has resulted in a sharp decline in tax
collections. A list of options unveiled by key Republicans to
deal with the deficit includes slashing public school funding by
$900 million and cutting state aid to universities by $300
million. One option not on the list is a temporary one-cent hike in the
state sales tax which would raise about $1 billion. But, Burns
said the problem isn't lack of money; it's spending too much.

Burns went on to say: "The historical growth in revenue is somewhere around seven percent.
And we have overspent almost double that in the last three to four
years. That is not sustainable. You cannot do that. So there has
to be a look at the costs, or at the spending side, or we'll never
get this problem under control."

Burns acknowledged much of that new spending was on programs
lawmakers approved because they believed the voters wanted them,
like full-day kindergarten. However, he said that doesn't make them
sacrosanct.

"Obviously," Burns said, "If you ask somebody that has a child in all-day
kindergarten, they're going to say, yes, a great program. But
there's a lot of people out there who don't have kids in all-day
kindergarten. And I think you might get a different answer from
them."

Senate committes have started hearings to decide where to start
making cuts.