State Capitol News
4:59 pm
Fri December 11, 2009

Special budget session plans hit snag

Phoenix, AZ – Plans for a special session this coming week have hit a snag. And
Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports the problem is not
partisan.

There appears to be the votes in both the House and Senate to put
a measure on the ballot for a temporary hike in the state sales
tax. That has been a cornerstone of the plan by Gov. Jan Brewer
to deal with the current budget shortfall as well as deficits for
the next few years.

The problem is that House Republicans want to
simultaneously enact tax cuts -- cuts that wouldn't take effect
until at least 2012 -- but cuts they want to approve now. But
Senate President Bob Burns said that is a non-starter in his
chamber, at least in part because it looks like he'll need some
Democratic votes for the tax referral plan, what with some of his
own members balking. Gubernatorial press aide Paul Senseman said
at this point Brewer is siding with the Senate.

"The governor supports tax reductions in the future. But for
right now, in terms of December and in terms of action, the
governor wants action as quickly as possible on the state
deficit. The governor's position is we need to get done what the
Legislature can successfully get done."

The earliest a special session now could occur is Wednesday. But
that presents another problem: Secretary of State Ken Bennett
said that comes too late to put the tax hike question on the
ballot on March 9, the same day as already scheduled local and
school elections.