Williams voted against House budget - Tucson Local Media: Pima Pinal

Williams voted against House budget

Republican says it contained 'bad policy,'did not serve state's interests

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Posted: Tuesday, June 9, 2009 11:00 pm

District 26 Rep. Vic Williams was one of three Republicans in the Arizona House who voted against a leadership-pushed budget last week.

"There were a lot of ill-conceived policies in the budget," including decisions that diverted revenues away from local governments, the first-term legislator said.

"I need to do what I believe is best for my district, what is best for my region and for the state of Arizona," Williams said. "We're in a crisis, and it can't be solved by political rhetoric."

Williams said the House and Senate "passed a budget that we're not apparently going to send to the governor. In my opinion," Gov. Jan Brewer would "veto the bill on the spot.

"There's a lot of politics, a lot of bad policy in that bill that's there to serve political interests, and not the people of Arizona," Williams said.

Williams said Brewer is "asking us to fulfill the vision with a concrete game plan," one that includes "additional cuts, and an honest, realistic approach to revenue.

"We have about $500 million" in the budget proposal "from unfounded, untried sources that may not come to fruition," Williams believes. "If this budget passes, and those revenue sources are not to fruition, we have a hole in the next six to eight months that would exacerbate the problem."

Williams is hesitant to say what tax increases he'd support.

"I'll consider anything and everything, but it has to work toward good policy," he said. "All options are on the table."

Williams did not sign a "no new tax" pledge when he ran for office. "We have to look at revenue comprehensively, and work together, and be honest about what revenues we're getting."

He would consider "a bridge with permanent repeals," among them a permanent repeal of the $250 million state school equalization property tax.

"We should consider bringing back the $250 million, in light of us having a $3.2 billion shortfall in our general fund," Williams said. But, he emphasized, that tax should be phased out over three years and not brought back.

"That's one way to placate the interest groups," Williams said, "and help support education while we're in an education crisis. Let's look for compromise."

As another example, a smaller sales tax increase might be "more palatable" than the 1 percent, three-year tax increase Brewer has proposed.

While temporary tax increases should be considered "as part of the solution," Williams said those hikes are "meaningless unless" they are "coupled with systemic proposition reform," as well as "reform of our regulatory and tax codes."

Spending must be reduced "across the board in all agencies. How much? It's hard to say."

"I ran to be fiscally accountable, and to show fiscal responsibility," Williams said. "We need to look agency by agency, and see where we can make it work. We need to get agencies to work with us to reduce spending."

"Every agency is saying 'we're willing to take cuts,'" Williams said. "It's unprecedented. Let's take advantage of that goodwill."

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