Capitol Media Services
|Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer |
Gov. Jan Brewer is proposing to empty state facilities of juvenile offenders, repeal a mandate to care for the severely mentally ill, kill state funding for full-day kindergarten, eliminate free health care for more than 300,000 low income people, sell off more state buildings, borrow more money and cut state employee pay by 5 percent to balance the budget for the remainder of this year and the next one.
And even with all that, the governor still wants an immediate hike in state sales taxes, higher fees for businesses and a new levy on labor costs for repairs on everything from automobiles to home appliances.
Of potential note is Brewer's demand that lawmakers enact those higher taxes and fees themselves so that retailers start collecting the extra one-cent levy on the state's 5.6 percent sales tax on March 1. That would require a two-third vote of both the House and Senate.
But Brewer could not even convince a simple majority of senators to support just sending the issue to the ballot.
Gubernatorial press aide Paul Senseman said, though, lawmakers are going to realize the financial situation is worse than they thought. And he said if they don't go along, then the cuts to state programs will be even worse.
Brewer's proposed budget does not cut basic aid to universities, community colleges or public schools, beyond killing the funds for full-day kindergarten programs.
But that is only because she cannot: Once the state took federal stimulus funds it committed not to slash funding below 2006 levels. Prior cuts have put financing there.
That doesn't mean there won't be hits to education. By keeping funding the same, it reduces the amount of state dollars schools get on a per-pupil basis. For K-12, the figure for the coming year will be about $3,370; it was close to $4,000 two years ago.