Gov. Brewer's tax plan under attack

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- It's one of her top legislative priorities of the year, but now Gov. Jan Brewer's plan to revamp the state's tax collecting system is under attack from Arizona's cities and towns.

On Wednesday, a group of mayors and council members from across Arizona assailed Brewer's proposal, saying it would rob more than $300 million in tax money from state and local coffers.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton led the group of local leaders who said they back most of Brewer's efforts to "simplify" the state's tax code, but oppose a provision to eliminate taxes on new construction.

Stanton and the others said they'd like to see the governor hold off on her plan this year until state and local leaders can find a way to lessen the financial burden on municipal governments.

"Let's take the time to do this right, not quickly," Stanton said Wednesday afternoon.

Brewer made tax overhaul a key part of her legislative agenda for the year when talked about it during her State or the State Address in January.

"But our sales tax code is also one of the most complicated in the nation," Brewer said in the annual speech the marks the start of the legislative session.  

She added: "It’s an accountant’s dream, but a business owner’s nightmare. Arizona’s local and state governments have created a tax system with so many twists and turns that we make it difficult for businesses to simply pay what they owe."

Outside of the provision that shifts taxes on new construction, Brewer wants to reduce the  paperwork businesses are required to file as well as the number of government audits they have go through.  

Other priorities for the governor include the expanding the number of people on Medicaid, which has also met stiff resistance from conservative Republicans who are leery of government subsidized health care.