by Jim Nintzel
Howie Fischer helps Owen Buz Mills make his media debut with a brief profile.
Like fellow GOP contenders John Munger and Dean Martin, Mills says there's no need for a tax increase in Arizona:
In an interview with Capitol Media Services, Mills specifically panned Brewer's idea of a temporary 1-cent hike in state sales taxes, a move the incumbent said is necessary to get the state through the recession without severe cuts in state services.
"We can't balance the books on the backs of the taxpayers," he said.
He does not have a specific plan for closing the gap between the approximately $6.3 billion in revenues this fiscal year and the more than $10 billion in spending. But he rejected the idea of borrowing money for operating expenses, a tactic even the Republican-controlled Legislature is using.
Mills said, though, there are programs and services the state should not be providing.
"We had a pretty free-wheeling time between '05 to '08 when we were flush with cash," he said. "And we committed ourselves to a lot of spending with the luxuries today we can't afford."
Those "luxuries," he said, include state-funded full-day kindergarten. Mills said most school districts offered it before 2006 when the state was providing cash for only half-day programs, using either local taxes or charging tuition to parents.
"The Legislature was rich with cash and said, 'Well, we'll pay for it,'" Mills said. "How dumb does that get to be?"