Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lawmaker moves put sales-tax election into limbo

Mary Jo Pitzl
The Arizona Republic

The House of Representatives on Wednesday derailed plans to close out a special session on the state budget, throwing into question the fate of a May 18 sales-tax election and hopes of balancing this year's budget.

With just one bill left to consider, House Republicans threw a monkey wrench into what was expected to be a quick end to the 10-day session by linking the remaining bill to their much-sought job-creation/tax-cut package.

That put the House at odds with the Senate, which had wrapped up work last week on the six-bill budget package, which includes the tax referral. The dispute between the two chambers resumes today.

Although both the House and Senate last week approved sending a temporary, 1-cent-per-dollar increase in the state sales tax to voters, the bill authorizing the May 18 election can't take effect until 90 days after the special session adjourns "sine die," or for the last time.

Tuesday is the deadline.

Senate President Bob Burns attempted to beat that deadline by ending the special session late Wednesday, but House Speaker Kirk Adams already had sent his members home. Both chambers must agree to end a legislative session.

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