State Capitol News
5:43 pm
Thu March 11, 2010

State lawmakers debate budget plan

Phoenix, AZ – The plan slashes more than a billion dollars in spending. Each of
those cuts is provoking a fight from lawmakers, mostly Democrats,
who complain about the effects. Some of these are major, like
eliminating free health care for about 310,000 people below the
federal poverty level and more than 40,000 youngsters whose
families earn more than that but are considered the working poor.
Other issues are smaller, like Rep. Steve Farley's complaint
about 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.)

Rep. John Kavanagh said it's not that lawmakers want to cut. He
said the $2.7 billion deficit leaves 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 ended all that. But Rep. Kyrsten Sinema
said there are alternatives -- like eliminating sales tax
exemptions for things like country club memberships and spa
treatments. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.