State Capitol News
Thu March 17, 2011
State Republicans Vote for 8.1 Billion Dollar Spending Plan for Coming Year
By Howard Fischer
Phoenix, AZ – One of them is over the question of state aid to universities.
Gov. Jan Brewer proposed to cut funding by $170 million. The
Senate plan slashes another $65 million. Minority Leader David
Schapira said history shows exactly what that means.
(Every year that we decrease state aid the universities, in order
to maintain their core mission, had to increase tuition. So,
unfortunately, we have created a situation where we are now
making college unaffordable.)
But Senate President Russell Pearce said lots of students pay
absolutely nothing because of financial aid. And some of that aid
comes from tuition proceeds of those who do pay.
(We are creating a burden on the middle class as we redistribute
wealth and create a greater and greater burden on them as we
cause no responsibily on many students who attend these
universities who are capable of paying.)
Another objection came over a plan to slash the rolls of the
state's Medicaid program to save money. That brought a proposal
from Sen. Steve Gallardo for elected officials -- including
lawmakers -- to give up THEIR heavily state subsidized health
(If we have the morality to cut the health care of 280,000
people, we should have the morality to cut our health care
And Sen. Kyrsten Sinema had her own proposal to come up with the
money to fund transplants for more than 90 Medicaid recipients
who were on the waiting list before the state decided last year
not to fund some of the procedures: Eliminate a provision in
existing law that lets businesses keep 1 percent of what they
collect in state sales taxes to cover their accounting expenses.
Sinema said that would raise $18 million a year.
(In old days, it made sense to allow businesses to get a tax
credit for filing their taxes because it was burdensome,
difficult and time consuming. Today, however, it all happens
electronically and takes no additional time or effort on the part
of the business. So basically we're just giving a free give-away
from the state coffers to these businesses.)
But the Republicans who control the Senate rejected each and
every one of the Democratic proposals. Wednesday's action now
sends the budget to the House. For Arizona Public Radio this is