Two Arizona lawmakers are attempting to make changes to the state’s budget bills, which held up the signing of the law last week.
“The changes include smaller tax cuts until actual revenue comes in above projections and a much larger paydown of state debt,” as reported by Fox 10.
Republican State Sen. Paul Boyer (District 20) and his GOP counterpart in the State House Rep. David Cook (District 8) proposed a version of the bill that would have limited tax cuts to $1.3 billion by halting the implementation of a 2.5 percent flat tax.
Instead, Arizonans making more than $250,000 individually, or $500,000 per couple would be subject to a maximum 4.5 percent tax rate, but would be shielded from Proposition 208’s 3.5 percent surcharge. That surcharge previously would have been added on top of the 4.5 percent tax on income.
But the deal hit a snag over total income tax revenue that will be divided among Arizona’s cities.
“Boyer said he thought city revenue streams would be protected if cash flow came in lower than expected by increasing the share beyond 18%,” the report said. “But midday, he said that had changed.”
Boyer said the Senate negotiators “moved the goalposts,” and that he could not support that new plan.
But Cook had another idea – cutting the state’s debt significantly.
“$1.9 billion in debt reduction, which is going to have a cost savings to taxpayers north of $270 million a year going forward,” he said, adding that it would be the largest state debt payoff ever, “times 10.”
A budget agreement must be reached by June 30, the state’s constitutional deadline.
House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R-District 25) did not seem impressed with the negotiations.
He said the House and Senate could not strike a deal by Tuesday, he will attempt to pass a “skinny” version of the budget, which would simply fund the government at its current level, and let the lawmakers hammer out details in a separate bill.
“We’ve been sitting here all day and twiddling our thumbs,” he reportedly said. “So we’re going skinny on Tuesday — either put up or shut up.”
– – –
Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Arizona Sun Times The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Paul Boyer” by Paul Boyer. Photo “David Cook” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 3.0. Background Photo “Arizona Capitol” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.