Arizona coalition forms to urge budget options

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX (AP) -- A new coalition is offering suggestions to Arizona legislators on ways to balance the state budget without making "damaging cuts" to education, health care and social services.

The 20-plus groups forming the Arizona Budget Coalition include the Arizona Education Association, the Children's Action Alliance, the Protecting Arizona's Family Coalition and the Service Employees International Union.

The coalition announced its formation on Thursday and released a menu of dozens of alternatives. They range from tax increases and accounting maneuvers to rehiring laid-off tax collectors and selling off Arizona Lottery revenue for upfront cash.

A Republican legislative proposal includes spending cuts to help close a projected $3 billion budget shortfall.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)