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State Democrats Propose Their Budget Fix

By Howard Fischer

Phoenix, AZ – House Democrats came up with their own proposal today for
balancing the budget. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer
explains how they plan to do it.

Like the Republicans, they acknowledge some spending cuts are
necessary to deal with the $1.6 billion deficit. But they want to
cut only about $280 million, versus the more than $700 million in
reductions being weighed by the GOP. They make a lot of that up,
though, with a budget maneuver -- don't pay more than a quarter
million of this year's expenses until next. Assistant Minority
Leader Kyrsten Sinema acknowledged the risk of doing that.

(We don't expect that the economy will turn around suddenly in
2010. But we do know that there are other options available to us
in 2010 to help reduce that year's budget shortfall. And we do
believe that these are common-sense alternatives to just creating
deep cuts, that will help us in the short term without creating
long-term debt.)

But Sinema acknowledged that the options for balancing next
year's budget -- and a potential $3 billion deficit -- does
include some long-term borrowing. She said, though, the state
needs to save many of the programs the Republicans might cut,
ranging from subsidized child care to virtually free health
insurance for some children of the middle class.

For Arizona Public Radio, this is Howard Fischer