State Capitol News
5:57 pm
Fri March 12, 2010

State lawmakers approve must of budget plan

Phoenix, AZ – The plan slashes spending by $1.2 billion. Democrats found fault
with most of the provisions, including eliminating free health
care for about 310,000 people below the federal poverty level and
cutting off state funds for full-day kindergarten. But Rep. Steve
Farley said the package has a host of smaller cuts that affect
people, like raiding lottery proceeds that help fund local bus
and dial-a-ride services.

(Many rural transit systems will be forced to shut down entirely.
And that's going to leave people completely stranded in their
homes without access to medical care, without access to food,
without access to be able to go out and visit their friends. And
they'll be done without anything.)

But Republican Rep. John Kavanagh said the $2.7 billion deficit
gave lawmakers no choice.

(Under the circumstances, this is the best that we can do. We
stand in a situation where, over the last decade, we grew
government at a particularly fast pace because the money was
there.)

He said the recession left the state without sufficient tax
revenues. But Republicans rejected proposals by Sen. Debbie
McCune Davis to save some programs with special new levies, like
hiking the tax on liquor or making soda and candy bars subject to
the state sales tax. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard
Fischer.