by Jim Nintzel
Republicans in the Arizona House of Representatives, without the support of Democrats, have addressed the state budget deficit by passing a massive collection of future tax cuts.
Reaction from the Arizona Budget Coalition:
The Arizona Budget Coalition (ABC), representing more than 50 organizations around the state standing for jobs, education, and health and human services, decries the passage of HB 2250 out of the Arizona House of Representatives and asks the State Senate to kill the bill.
Scott Washburn, State Director of SEIU Arizona, explains that while the Coalition shares the goals stated in the bill to bring jobs to Arizona, it believes the sweeping tax cuts are not well targeted to economic development and will in fact cost Arizona jobs and economic growth. “Cutting general fund revenues at a time when basic services are already being slashed will make Arizona a less desirable place for business relocation and expansion,” Washburn said.
“Both voters and businesses expect our state to provide the assets we need for a strong economy — assets like roads, parks, health care, and a world-class education system,” said Dana Wolfe Naimark, President and CEO of Children’s Action Alliance. “Twenty years of tax cuts have left us short on these assets and contributed to
the deficit we suffer from now. More of the same tax cuts will only make Arizona less competitive.”
According to ASU economists, when inflation and population growth are considered, revenue in the current fiscal year is $2.6 billion less than it would have been had this long series of tax cuts not taken place.
In addition to a long list of rebates, payments, and tax breaks to businesses who move or expand here in the future, HB 2250 includes large and permanent cuts to general fund revenues: cuts in the personal income tax for every household in Arizona, cuts in the corporate income tax for every corporation in Arizona, cuts to property taxes for education for every household and every business in Arizona, extra cuts in property taxes for businesses that will either be paid for by households or the state general fund, and extra cuts in the corporate income tax for certain businesses that sell products out of state.
The tax cuts in HB 2250 would begin in FY 2012 and grow from there. Arizona has a long history of tax cuts with delayed effective dates and phased in provisions. “These tactics make the cuts seem more affordable, “said ABC Steering Committee member George Cunningham, “because legislators don’t have to factor them in to the budget they’re working on right now. But in FY 2012, when these tax cuts begin to take effect, Arizona is still projected to have depressed state revenues, depressed job growth, and multibillion dollar deficits.”
“It’s clear that the sponsors of this bill put low tax rates above everything else,” said John Wright, President of the Arizona Education Association. “Elliott Pollack, the author of the report on which HB2250 is based, warns us that we can’t be ‘number one’ in both low taxes and the things that tax dollars buy, like education and infrastructure.”
“With the sweeping tax cuts in this bill, Arizona announces to businesses all over the country and the world that we are OK with seeing the rate of uninsured kids in our state rise, the children who are products of our education system unable to compete successfully for good paying jobs, our state parks locked up, and our highway rest stops barricaded, “said Timothy Schmaltz, Coordinator of Protecting Arizona’s Family Coalition. “What business would want to relocate to a state like that?”
Naimark pointed out that specific parts of the tax code can be reformed if they are hampering business without sweeping tax cuts that dig our deficit hole deeper. “If legislators want to reduce taxes in one or two areas, then their responsibility should be to make up the revenue somewhere else.”
Washburn concluded: “We ask every member of the House who voted for these tax cuts to stand up and tell their constituents where they will cut the budget next year to deal with the lower revenue.”
ABC Coalition Member Organizations
Alliance of AZ Nonprofits ~ AZ AFL-CIO ~ AZ Behavioral Health Corp
AZ Bridge to Independent Living ~ AZ Center for Afterschool Excellence
AZ Center for Disability Law ~ AZ Child Care Association
AZ Coalition Against Domestic Violence ~ AZ Community Action Association ~ AZ Education Association AZ Health Care Association ~ AZ Public Health Association ~ AZ Statewide Independent Living Council Association for Supportive Child Care ~ Association of AZ Food Banks ~ AZ Coalition to End Homelessness
AZ Council of Human Service Providers ~ Casa de los Ninos ~ Chicanos Por La Causa ~ Child and Family Resources, Inc ~ Children’s Action Alliance ~Community Action Human Resources Agency ~ Devereux AZ ~ Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse
Empowerment Systems ~ Graham County Interfaith Care Alliance, Inc
Labor's Community Service Agency ~ Madison Street Veterans Association ~ Mentally Ill Kids In Distress NAMI AZ ~ NAMI Southeast Valley ~ NAMI Southeastern AZ
National Association of Social Workers, AZ Chapter ~ New Horizons Counseling Service, Inc
NOVA, Inc ~ Our Family Services ~ Pima County/Tucson Women's Commission
Protecting AZ’s Family Coalition ~ Raising Special Kids ~ Recovery Empowerment Network
Ryle Fund ~ Service Employees International Union ~ Sojourner Center
The Arc of AZ ~ The Board of Rabbis of Phoenix ~ The Once-A-Month Church
Voices for Education