Phoenix, AZ – The one thing that is clear is Arizona is spending more money
than it collects. Gov. Jan Brewer proposes to deal with that with
a combination of cuts and borrowing. But Senate Republicans are
unwilling to consider the latter. That means hundreds of millions
less in available funds. Democrat Paula Aboud said there's
another alternative: Look at some of the $10 billion in products
and services that now are exempt from the state sales tax.
(It's just that the will is not here, sir. The will is not here
to close the loopholes that corporations have been able to hire
expensive lobbyists to come here and to seek those exemptions.)
But Republican Rick Murphy said at least part of that $10 billion
is the fact that Arizona does not tax services.
(As policy we don't tax services in Arizona. And if we want to
revisit that and advocate for the taxing of services, then that's
a discussion we should have. But we should have it on that basis.
The word loophole doesn't belong in the discussions.)
Aboud urged colleagues to listen to the wishes of those who
testified at the Appropriations Committee hearing.
(I think the commentary that they've already given, the 50
percent toal cuts in the last four years to higher education, the
cuts to child care subsidies, I mean the list is just endless. I
think the public is speaking through their right to speak. And
they are saying they do not want this budget.)
But Republican Andy Biggs said the results of the last election
disprove the Democrats' theory that Arizonans want more spending.
(That's why you have 21 Republicans and 40 Republicans in this
body. And they were elected because we went out and said we are
tired of budgetary gimmicks and accounting gimicks. We want to
get to a structurally balanced budget.)
Whatever is finally approved needs the blessing of the governor
who may hold out for something closer to her plan. For Arizona
Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.