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State Capitol News

State Senate approves sharp budget cuts

By Howard Fischer

Phoenix, AZ –
State senators gave preliminary approval this afternoon to some
sharp budget cuts. But the move came over some protests.

The biggest came from various groups whose programs depend on
taxpayer funds, ranging from organizations that help the poor and
disabled to a couple of state labor unions. Andrew Morrill, vice
president of the Arizona Education Association, said the groups
that object, are not in denial about the current $2 billion

(What we're in is a severe state of shock over chronic cutting
and underfunding. The Arizona Budget Coalition has outlined a set
of options that make the cuts being discussed right now

These range from more borrowing than the state already is doing
and asking Congress for a new round of stimulus funds to a new
tax on hospitals and letting voters decide if they're willing to
approve a temporary sales tax hike. But the idea of higher taxes
got a decidedly negative response from Republican lawmakers like
Sen. Russell Pearce.

(Record foreclosures in homes, 26-year high in unemployment. And
I'm going to raise taxes on families that are struggling? I'm not
going to do that. You can't ignore the past. We've grown
government at unsustainable levels.)

A final Senate vote Thursday will send the package to the House.