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Democrats float budget plan

By Howard Fischer

Phoenix, AZ – Democratic lawmakers unveiled their plan today to balance the
state budget. Mmuch of it involves higher taxes.

Most Democrats have been unwilling to make the sharp reductions
in spending being pushed by Republican leaders to deal with a $3
billion deficit. Their plan does include $800 million in cuts.
But that is offset by a nearly similiar amount of funds restored
to state agencies to compensate for prior cuts. What makes the
plan work is more dollars. That includes restoring the currently
suspended state property tax and hiking local school taxes.
Another maneuver would shift some local property taxes from
businesses to homeowners. Sen. Ken Cheuvront said the plan
involves shared sacrifices.

(We acknowledge that the average person, it's going to cost them
more. But we, when we put this budget together, we decided we
needed prudent cuts. But that everybody had to give equally to
the state and sacrifice a little.)

The idea of higher taxes is a likely non-started among GOP
lawmakers, most of whom also oppose an alternate plan by Gov. Jan
Brewer for a $1 billion a year temporary tax. The Democrats also
balance their budget by suspending more than $1 billion a year in
state aid to cities, a move that did not please Ken Strobeck from
the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.

(This is just another way to basically kind of get money off the
cities. And we don't think it works.)

Only five weeks remain before the new budget year begins.