State Capitol News
1:23 am
Wed January 28, 2009

University presidents call for vote on education tax

Phoenix, AZ – The presidents of the three state universities said today Arizona
residents should be given the opportunity to raise taxes to avoid
further cuts in education spending.

The trio came to the Capitol to urge lawmakers to limit cuts this
year to no more than the $100 million the Board of Regents
offered up the day before. The latest offer from House
Republicans is $129 million. Northern Arizona University
President John Haeger acknowledged the current $1.6 billion
deficit.

(We're not saying that other agencies or other important programs
in this state should then have to suffer the burden of the cut.
It goes back to what presidents Crow and Shelton have said. We
have to find other avenues to do this or we will permanently
weaken this state.)

And that, he said, includes higher taxes.

(If we went and asked the citizens of Arizona would they prefer
to have a first-class K thru 12 and higher ed system and First
Things First and a lot of these otehr things, and that in order
to do that we might have to have increases in sales tax or
gasoline tax, I think I know what that answer would be. I think
they would say you have to preserve the core.)

But Russell Pearce who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee
said he's not willing to put that question to voters.

(We have been very, very good to education. There'll never be
enough money for some of these folks, never, until they just
strip the taxpayer of every penny they earn.)