WILDCARDS: When Will the National Headlines Start? Arizona gives the country at least one piece of legislation a year that makes national headlines. What will it be in 2015? It is widely expected that the controversial SB 1062 will be back in some shape. That bill got national attention last year for trying to legalize discrimination against LGBT residents. There will be a push to block Arizona’s first statewide test under the new Common Core standards, set for spring. Are we done with immigration legislation? And what will be the fate of the state legislature’s lawsuit against former GOP Gov. Jan Brewer to block Medicaid expansion? The Arizona Supreme Court recently ruled the legislature had standing to sue. Now, attorneys for the legislature are expected to seek a temporary injunction halting the Medicaid expansion in Arizona.
BUDGET: Governor Vows Balanced Budget by 2017-2018 Fiscal Year New GOP Gov. Doug Ducey’s budget pegs Arizona’s budget deficit at $700 million for the current fiscal year and the next. That deficit projection does not take into account a potentially huge liability from a school-funding lawsuit (independent analysts put the deficit at $1.5 billion.) Ducey’s longer-term goal of delivering a balanced budget counts on half-a-billion dollars in corporate tax cuts, enacted by the previous legislature, being offset by new revenue from job growth. Ducey says he won’t back away from tax cuts; he also wants to drive Arizona’s income tax rate as close to zero as possible.
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