Budget deal shifts a burden to middle class - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Commentary

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Budget deal shifts a burden to middle class

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Posted: Wednesday, July 29, 2009 11:00 pm

Gov. Jan Brewer and the state Legislature are at it again – desperately trying to bail out corporations and Wall Street insurance companies on the backs of Arizona’s children and middle class families.

Just like the governor’s June proposal, the current plan concocted by Brewer, Senate president Bob Burns and House speaker Kirk Adams is wrong for Arizona. The Brewer-Burns-Adams Grand Tax Shift unfairly places a heavier tax burden on the middle class, and uses an 18 percent increase in the sales tax – as well as school cuts – to pay for hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate tax giveaways and bailouts we simply cannot afford.

Specifically, the Brewer-Burns-Adams Grand Tax Shift:

• Raises the state sales tax by 18 percent. Under Brewer-Burns-Adams, Arizona’s sales tax would climb to the seventh highest in the nation, and that’s before county and local taxes are taken into account [Source: Tax Foundation 2009 Facts and Figures].

• Takes some revenue from the middle class tax hike to pay for a 30 percent cut to the state’s corporate tax rate, shifting the burden to individuals.

• Takes another portion of revenue from the sales tax increase, which targets middle class families, and cut income taxes for those who make over $150,000 a year.

• Puts schools on the ropes and eliminates the $250 million education equalization fund, which goes directly to Arizona schools. This would shift funds from schools to the pockets of Big Business. For example, one of the biggest beneficiaries of this maneuver is New York-based Metropolitan Life Insurance Company [Source: The Arizona Republic, April 4, 2009].

• Strips voter-mandated protections of school funds, so the Legislature would be free to override the will of the voters and further cut classroom resources in FY2010, FY2011 and FY2012.

The Brewer-Burns-Adams Grand Tax Shift is another example of misplaced priorities at the State Capitol.

Arizonans continue to lack confidence in the governor and Legislature’s handling of the budget crisis. A recent survey of 500 likely voters indicates that 72 percent believe Brewer is doing only a “fair” or “poor” job handling the state budget crisis. Eighty-one percent of those surveyed said the state Legislature is doing only a “fair” or “poor” job handling the crisis.

 

The Arizona Economic Council is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization that aims to promote ideas and policies to create jobs, strengthen our schools and the state’s economy and educate Arizonans about the economic issues that face our state.

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