Saturday, February 14, 2009

Gov's tax increase & diss the voter election?

Special election plan may not be supportable.

PHOENIX -- Gov. Jan Brewer and some legislative Republicans are reportedly considering trying to push for a special election this spring to raise some taxes and limit voter authority through the initiative process.

Arizonans know we need to raise more revenue to pay for essential services such as public schools, healthcare and the environment, but it must be done fairly.

I will not support a special election if the governor and Republicans favor another increase to the volatile and regressive sales tax. Sales taxes are already over 10% in some Arizona communities, and this heavy tax hurts our economy and lower-income people. Arizona is already much too dependent on sales taxes, which are not reliable, and I would actively campaign against any plan that favors raising the unfair sales tax even higher.

I cannot support a special election if they continue to push for more of their favorite lobbyists' tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, or if they move to permanently end the education equalization assessment, which if the legislature just does nothing will bring back $250M a year we need for education, as was always the plan. During this bad economy and budget crisis, it's unfair and irresponsible to further cut taxes for the rich and instead keep raising the sales tax on everyone else.

I generally favor protecting the initiative process and would have a hard time backing a plan to let the legislature undo voter intent, especially if it is aimed only at voter-mandated funding protections.

If the governor wants to make a fair revenue improvement proposal that has a decent chance of being approved by voters, I suggest she open the door and work closely with me and other legislative Democrats.

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