New Arizona tax on vehicles?

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- One week into his term as governor, is Doug Ducey going back on a major campaign promise?

He repeatedly pledged to not raise taxes to help fix the state deficit, but some say his new budget proposal contains just that -- a tax hike.

State lawmakers began going through the governor's budget line by line. In it, the governor proposes a fee hike to help the highway patrol's bottom line.

It's a small dollar amount, but it has some saying the new governor's gone back on a big promise. It was a pledge repeated many times through the gubernatorial campaign.

"I'm not going to raise taxes. OK? That's a commitment that I'll make tonight," Ducey said during a debate, a commitment now Gov. Doug Ducey made again at his inauguration.

"Not on our watch," he said. "Raise taxes and you haven't solved anything. All that does is excuse ineffective spending and invite more of it."

But inside the governor's budget plan, he calls for a new revenue stream -- a hike in the vehicle registration fee.

House Democratic leader Dr. Eric Meyer said lawmakers were surprised.

"You know, it's a case where he's saying one thing and doing another," Meyer said.

The governor wants an extra $7 fee to bring in another $30 million for the Department of Public Safety.

"For somebody with a high income to pay an additional $7 may not impact them as heavily as someone with a low income. This is an hour of work for them," Meyer said.

People at the Motor Vehicle Division -- fresh from paying their registration fees -- were not happy.

"I think it's ridiculous how they're trying to increase that," one person said.

"I was already freaking out on this price," one man said.

"My message to him is to come out here and see how we are living and maybe he'll change his mind because it's really hard out here for us right now," another man said.

"I think it's high enough already so I hope they don't raise it," one woman said.

A Ducey spokesman said the governor does not consider the new fee a break of his "no new tax" promise. He does not see the fee hike as a tax hike -- a sentiment not shared by many at the Capitol or the MVD.

"No, they're the same thing, basically," a man said.

"He's still asking for more money," a woman said. "It's expensive."

This is still a proposal. Lawmakers are just beginning the budget process.