2006 legislative goals
Arizona Republic
Jan. 9, 2006

Editor's note: Following are some of the goals of Arizona's legislative leaders for the 2006 session, which begins today. . . .

This session must be marked by accountability to Arizona's taxpayers.

Explosive economic growth has provided hundreds of millions of one-time and ongoing surplus dollars.

With the ongoing surplus, Republicans will make major commitments to border enforcement, up to $100 million, provide economic stimulus with a tax relief package of at least $250 million, increase education funding by $350 million, and provide the largest pay increase in recent memory to state workers.

The one-time money, resulting primarily from spikes in property values, creates an opportunity to end some accounting gimmicks used to balance the budget during hard times.

- Ken Bennett
President of the Arizona Senate, Republican from Prescott

After spending the past five years cutting budgets and starving necessary state services, my hope for this session is that we can begin to make targeted investments to ensure prosperity for our state's citizens.

Education investments, health care investments, teacher and state employee salary increases, "rainy day" fund deposits, settling a decade-old English-language learner lawsuit and targeted tax relief should all be considered if we truly have Arizonans' best interests in mind.

I am committed to these issues, and look forward to working with all my legislative colleagues to ensure that they become a reality - Linda Aguirre Minority leader in the Arizona Senate, Democrat from Phoenix

The next three months hold incredible promise for Arizona. The Legislature, which has already shown a desire to combat illegal immigration, will take up that mantle again to give this state and its taxpayers the protection needed. This time, I hope Gov. Janet Napolitano's lasting mark isn't her
veto stamp.

I have great hope for a smooth session and hopefully the Legislature will have a partner in the governor. Her first big test will come early when the Legislature gives her a chance to keep her word from last session and sign the tax credit provision that gives needy school children a chance to escape poor-performing schools.

- Jim Weiers
Speaker of the Arizona House, Republican from Phoenix

When asked about my wishes and goals for this legislative session, I cannot think of anything more important than providing opportunities for all Arizonans. We start by making sure every student has an equal chance to learn English.

This session we also will work to increase the salaries of state employees by 9.5 percent and to continue providing voluntary all-day kindergarten programs around the state. In addition, our caucus will focus on making sure the medical school in downtown Phoenix becomes a reality.

Let's allow reason and fiscal responsibility to reign this session. Let's invest in opportunities for all our citizens. - Phil Lopes Minority leader in the Arizona House, Democrat from Tucson