State Capitol News
Thu December 17, 2009
Tax hike proposal will not go to voters
By Howard Fischer
Phoenix, AZ – Lawmakers convene this morning in special session. But the big issues they were
supposed to consider are gone.
One involved the push by Gov. Jan Brewer to ask voters for a
temporary one-cent hike in the state sales tax to help balance
the budget. The other dealt with a separate ballot measure to let
lawmakers raid funds that belong to programs previously approved
by voters. But House Speaker Kirk Adams said Wednesday a couple
of things went wrong.
"One is the legal issues raised by the secretary of state and
others regarding the March election. And the second is the votes
simply did not materialize for the sales tax referral."
That first problem deals with the fact that Secretary of State
Ken Bennett said he legally needs 90 days from the time a vote is
authorized until he can put a measure on the ballot. That can be
solved by postponing legislative action until January, giving
plenty of time to set up a May election.
But Senate President Bob
Burns said a May election means lawmakers have to prepare a
spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1 assuming
voters will reject the proposal and the state won't get that
extra billion dollars a year.
"Because it won't be there until it passes. And so we should
build our budget on the assumption that it's not there so that we
don't have to come back and make some dramatic additional cuts.
We need to work the cuts in as we go as much as possible."