State Capitol News
5:31 am
Mon March 9, 2009

Special tax ballot in jeopardy

Phoenix, AZ – The top Senate Republican said today he is shying away from
putting two measure on a special ballot this spring -- at least
in part because he believes voters will not decide the issues the
way HE wants.

In a speech last week, Gov. Jan Brewer said $1 billion in
spending cuts and $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars won't be
enough to balance the budget. So she wants a billion in new
taxes, at least temporarily. Senate President Bob Burns said
there isn't the necessary two-thirds margin in the House and
Senate to do that directly. Putting the question to voters takes
only a simple majority. But Burns, who opposes the tax hike, said
that election would not, in his words, be a fair fight.

"The group that would be loaded with resources to run a campaign
would be those who would end up on the receiving end of those
increased tax dollars, I believe. I don't know we would have the
same level of resources and so forth to hold that off. So that's
an issue."

But gubernatorial press aide Paul Senseman said Brewer is not
concerned about letting either lawmakers or the voters decide the
issue.

"The governor actually proposed both of those as options, either
to go to the ballot or for the Legislature to approve. Either one
of them are valid options. Either one of them are acceptable to
the governor."

Lawmakers will have to act soon if they hope to have a special
election before the new budget year begins July 1.