Lawmakers began pulling double-duty yesterday, as they were called into a special session to fix the fiscal 2010 budget.
Gov. Jan Brewer listed four items on the special session agenda: balancing the 2010 budget, including delaying education payments and selling more state buildings; setting up a special election for a three-year, 1-cent sales tax increase; pro-rating income tax deductions for out-of-state filers; and borrowing against the state’s future revenues from the Arizona Lottery.
The proposals will not balance the state budget, the Governor’s Office noted in a media release. Additional work will be necessary to fully address the rest of the budget shortfall.
“Today I have asked that members of the legislature prioritize the most essential services of state government,” Brewer noted in the statement released yesterday. “I believe that the essential public safety services of state government must be protected, as well as vitally important classroom funding for our children.”
Brewer started this year by asking the Legislature to enact a temporary sales tax increase. But she has now backed away from that request and is calling for a ballot referral this spring to allow voters to decide whether to increase the state sales tax.
“In all of my years as an elected official, I have never advocated for a temporary revenue increase,” she stated. “I do not issue this call lightly, but only after the most serious and careful contemplation that it is absolutely necessary to protect fundamental funding for public safety and education. As I have stated repeatedly since March of 2009, I trust the will of the voters of the state of Arizona.”
This marks the sixth time Brewer has called the 49th Legislature into special session since she took office a year ago.