Goddard kicks off campaign for Arizona governor

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PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona should increase tax revenue by closing loopholes to help balance the state budget while protecting public education and other services, Democratic Attorney General Terry Goddard said Monday as he kicked off his campaign for governor.

"A whole variety of special exceptions ... which riddle our tax code" should be reviewed, Goddard said when asked if the state should tax services not currently taxed.

As examples, he cited country club memberships and elective cosmetic surgeries.

Goddard stated his position while fielding questions from reporters after making his candidacy announcement. He also began a three-day campaign swing through the state.

Goddard said he wasn't going to release a specific budget plan, instead saying the state must "live with the fallout" from the budget proposed by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer and approved by the Republican-led Legislature.

Goddard said unspecified "radicals" have used the state's current budget troubles as an excuse to slash school funding.

"That won't happen on my watch," he said.

He listed goals of diversifying the state economy, improving public education and promoting bipartisan cooperation within state government.

"Bottom line, what I'm proposing is a different process and that I believe is critically important for getting Arizona out of this mess," Goddard said.

State Republican Party Chairman Randy Pullen was dismissive of Goddard, saying it was just as well the candidate didn't offer a budget plan.

"After years of supporting Janet Napolitano's gross financial ineptitude, any advice we would get from him would make a bad situation worse," Pullen said in a statement.

Goddard, 63, is a former Phoenix mayor. First elected attorney general in 2002 and re-elected in 2006, he unsuccessfully ran twice for governor in the 1990s.

Goddard has long been considered the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor. Former congressional aide Miguel Olivas of Coolidge also filed papers to seek the Democratic nomination.

Brewer faces multiple Republican challengers, including state Treasurer Dean Martin, Tucson attorney John Munger and Yavapai County businessman Buz Mills.

Goddard officially declared his candidacy on Jan. 22 but delayed his statewide tour until after his recent qualification for public campaign funding.

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