Tucsonans gather to learn more about House approved flat tax

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Last session the Arizona House approved a flat tax. The bill would eliminate deductions for mortgage interest, military pay exemptions and veterans' and pension benefit exemptions.

Monday night some Tucsonans voiced their opposition.

More than 50 jammed into a room at Temple Emanu-El to learn more about the flat tax.

"I've heard some things that it would put more burden on the average tax payer and the lower income tax payer, but I'm not really sure.  But I have come tonight to get a little education on it," said Tucson Resident Herb Wagner.

Democratic State Senator Paula Aboud hosted the forum and feels that residents need to know how the tax will affect them.

"That flat tax was going to raise taxes on 8 out of 9 middle class Arizonans and nobody in Arizona knew about it except the legislatures," said District 28 Democratic State Senator Paula Aboud.

Republican State Senator Vic Willimas signed off on the flat tax.  He believes that everyone should pay some fair share of their income tax into the system.

"I believe that's what the flat tax would do.  It would provide everyone in the State of Arizona who's filing a tax return who is making an income would have some level of participation," said State Senator Williams.

Aboud says, that level of participation depends on your income.  Those who make less than $10,000 annually may see a tax increase of 20,000%.

"The 1% of the millionaires and the rich people get as much as a 45% tax cut but it takes 8 individuals to get a tax increase to off set the tax cut of one rich person," said Aboud.

Williams says that's not the case, the Republicans just want to simplify the tax code.

"This is typical rhetoric that you hear from the Democrats they say that the Republicans want to give tax breaks to the rich.  What the Republican party wants to do is ensure that we put people back to work in the State of Arizona," said Williams.

If the tax is approved, it would be phased in by 2015.

The flat tax will be up for discussion again at the Arizona legislature in January of next year.