Despite single party control of both the legislative and executive branches of government, the Grand Canyon State has now been without a complete fiscal year 2010 budget for more than 40 days. The delay has arisen largely because legislative leadership has continued to insist that tax-cutting dogma trump fiscal reality. More specifically, they have demanded that Governor Jan Brewer’s proposal to increase the sales tax on a temporary basis be paired with a permanent plan to reduce personal and corporate income taxes, along with property taxes, by $650 million per year. To this point, their demands have foundered in the Senate, as the final vote needed to approve such a pairing has proved elusive.
A new gambit, devised in consultation with Grover Norquist, may provide the required votes within the next few days. It would separate the sales tax hike from the other tax changes, thus requiring two separate votes and thus potentially drawing new supporters to each element. However packaged, the combination of a temporary tax hike and permanent tax reduction will have the same result over the long-run: inadequate revenue and a greater share of the responsibility for taxes shifted onto working Arizonans.