Thursday, May 28, 2009
Dem budget guards education, has most support
PHOENIX -- House and Senate Democrats announced this morning a practical and comprehensive joint budget solution that protects children and middle-class families from deep cuts to education and from high tax increases.
With the support of Democratic lawmakers, the common-sense solution has gained more support among legislators than any proposal to date, and it meets Gov. Jan Brewer’s requirements.
“Democratic lawmakers’ comprehensive balanced budget solution lays the foundation for a stronger Arizona by protecting kids from deep cuts to education now,” said House Democratic Leader David Lujan. “Our proposal protects middle-class families from high tax increases and offers a more affordable, common-sense and smart solution that funds education and ensures our state’s future economic success.”
Democratic lawmakers’ comprehensive solution:
• Utilizes every federal stimulus dollar available to Arizona.
• Implements smart, responsible cuts across state government, including the House slush fund.
• Restores necessary funding to education and middle-class families to make our economy thrive.
• Responsibly generates revenue, while holding cities, towns and counties harmless from loss of shared revenue and protecting middle-class families from a high tax increase.
“It’s almost June and Arizonans are still looking for leadership in this time of economic turmoil,” said Senate Democratic Whip Linda Lopez. “Severe cuts to education and health care services are not the answer. We need real leadership that provides a balanced approach using program cuts, generating future revenues and utilizing federal stimulus money.”
The Democratic plan meets Brewer’s requirements by making cuts, generating revenue, implementing tax reform and utilizing federal stimulus money. The proposal also deposits money in the rainy day and does not make illegal fund sweeps.
"This is the best possible budget during Arizona's economic crisis, and has the support of more legislators right now than any other proposal," said Rep. Daniel Patterson of Tucson. "Our fair and balanced plan promotes economic justice, helps business, and protects education and middle-class families. The governor and majority would be wise to listen and work with us now for a fair budget solution for FY2010."
Increasing the sales tax by one-cent costs the average Arizona household (2.7 people) $438 per year. The Democratic plan saves the average Arizona household $275 a year in state taxes.
“In this economy, we will all have to make sacrifices, but we also can make smart and responsible decisions to build a stronger Arizona,” said Assistant House Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema. “Our budget solution makes cuts and generates revenue in a smart and responsible way that will get our state’s economy back on track, put people back to work and prepare kids for college and the work force."
The Democratic plan calls for a state sales tax decrease and broadens the sales tax base to cover things like spa treatments and maid services.
“The Democratic proposal is the only balanced plan that reduces government spending while preserving vital services,” said Sen. Ken Cheuvront. “The plan broadens the sales tax base which allows us to reduce the state sales tax burden from 5 to 3.4 percent, making every day purchases more affordable for Arizona families.”
The plan also includes a local property tax increase to directly fund education.
“The majority of Arizonans overwhelmingly have said they are willing to pay their fair share to protect education,” said House Democratic Whip Chad Campbell. “This plan protects taxpayers from a high tax increase by implementing a smart and responsible one that directly funds education. Arizonans recognize that the key to our economic recovery and long-term stability is preparing our children to be competitive in the global economy.”
- adapted from Leg. Dems PIOs