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Arizona Republican Sen. Paul Boyer doesn’t support his party’s budget plan

Arizona state Sen. Paul Boyer (KTAR News File Photo/Peter Samore)

PHOENIX — Republican Arizona state Sen. Paul Boyer isn’t on board with the $12.8 billion state budget his party proposes for the coming year.

“The biggest concern is the scope and the permanence of the $1.9 billion flat tax that would significantly impact Arizonans for, really, decades to come,” Boyer told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Boyer, R-Glendale, noted a two-thirds vote would be needed in the state legislature to raise taxes again.

“And so in a few years, if there’s an economic downturn, should we need it, it would be extremely difficult to bump up our revenues,” he said.

The budget negotiated between Gov. Doug Ducey and Republican leaders of the House and Senate would impose a flat 2.5% income tax that works out to a $1.9 billion loss in state revenue once in place in three years.

Boyer said he worries that would mean less money for cities and towns. They’re estimated to lose $285 million a year in state income tax revenue.

On Wednesday, he met with the governor’s office along with members of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns to request an increase in the share of income tax revenue that cities and towns get.

“I offered 19%. Right now, it’s at 15%,” Boyer said. “They told me that 19% was a nonstarter.”

The Republican state lawmaker also believes now is not a good time to slash revenue because the state still has many needs to fulfill, starting with paying off debt.

One of those debts he pointed to is the $930 million “rollover” payment the state owes K-12 public schools.

Boyer added he sees a need for more targeted investments for the state’s higher education system and for adults who don’t have a high school diploma or GED.

“If we’re going to create all these new jobs, if we’re going to invite all of these businesses into the state of Arizona with our tax-friendly system, then we have to have the educated workforce to fill those jobs,” he said.

On Thursday, the Senate adjourned until June 10 without voting on the state budget plan. The House did the same a day prior.

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