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‘Jobs’ bill limping along in Senate

A bill that aims to spur economic growth through tax cuts and incentives to companies appears to be in big trouble in the Senate.

Several Senate Republicans have problems with portions of H2250, and with presumably only a few weeks left in the session there may not be enough time to bridge their differences.

Sen. Carolyn Allen, a Republican from Scottsdale, put the situation this way: “We don’t like it.”

Some don’t like its tax credits provisions and instead want to see broad-based tax cuts. But others have expressed reservations about tax cuts.

Sen. Linda Gray, a Republican from Glendale, said she can’t support the bill in its current form because of the tax cuts in it.

Gray said she wants to tie any incentive program to increased revenue – meaning the program will be triggered once the state is again financially doing well.

“My concern is that our projected revenues are not very good and to go ahead and do the (tax) cuts, when we asking people to increase taxes – I don’t think that goes over very well with the public,” she said.

Senate Majority Whip Steve Pierce had earlier told the Arizona Capitol Times that the bill in its current form doesn’t have enough support to pass.

Comments made during the Republican caucus on April 26 confirmed that.

Meanwhile, Sen. Ron Gould, a Lake Havasu City Republican, said he found it “rather hypocritical” that some folks who have donated money to the campaign to temporarily increase the state’s sales tax by a penny are also supporting the so-called jobs bill, which would give them tax cuts.

“I just thought this is a little hypocritical. On one side these folks are lobbying for a tax hike. On the other side they are lobbying for a tax cut for themselves or their members,” Gould said.

“It’s very self-serving,” agreed Sen. Thayer Verschoor, a Republican from Gilbert.

But getting enough support in the Senate for the measure solves only one part of the problem.

Senate President Bob Burns said what needs to happen is for the three Republican leaders – himself, House Speaker Kirk Adams, who sponsored the bill, and Gov. Jan Brewer, who offered an alternative incentive program – to sit down and discuss the bill.

“I think there’s going to have to be a narrowing of focus here. This thing obviously has a lot of pieces,” Burns said. “If you get down to a smaller package, I think you can work it. It’s a lot easier to work it.”

Burns and Adams are scheduled to meet tomorrow about the measure.

The bill’s final content is not the only point of contention.

Some Senate Republicans want to divide the bill’s sections into separate floor amendments for members to debate. Others want the measure carved up into three bills so members can vote on them separately.

Anything hashed out among Adams, Brewer and Burns will likely be presented again to the Republican caucus for discussion.

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(Photo by Luige del Puerto/Arizona Capitol Times)

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