Wednesday, February 10, 2010

House OKs 20 years of debt to balance books now

Howard Fischer Capitol Media Services | Posted: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 12:00 am

PHOENIX - Without a vote to spare, the House on Tuesday gave final approval to putting the state in debt for the next 20 years to balance the books this year.

The 31-27 vote came over objections by lawmakers from both parties who had different reasons they did not like the plan. But a majority said they saw little alternative.

Rep. Nancy McLain, R-Bullhead City, said the state's position is not unlike one she faced during the recession of the early 1990s with her janitorial firm.

First she and her husband stopped taking a salary, then borrowed against a bank line of credit until that was exhausted, then maxed out the credit cards, just to stay afloat, she said.

Rep. Bill Konopnicki, R-Safford, said he also has run into situations as the owner of McDonald's restaurant franchises, and recognizes there is a place for debt. But this is excessive.

"Never, never, never do you take a 20-year note to meet payroll," he said. "This is absolutely, totally irresponsible."

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