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Mofford Vetoes Legislature's State Budget, Says Democrats Were Kept Out of Process

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Gov. Rose Mofford of Arizona last week vetoed the $3.2-billion state budget adopted by the Republican-controlled legislature, saying it would leave the state with a $165-million deficit.

The budget veto was the first by an Arizona governor in the state's history.

Ms. Mofford, a Democrat, also noted that lawmakers from her party were not included in budget negotiations and that the spending plan would have underfunded several programs by more than $7 million, said her press secretary, Vada Manager.

The budget would have provided precollegiate education with $1.3 billion in the fiscal year that begins July 1, up from the current level of $1.15 billion.

In her State of the State Message last January, Ms. Mofford said taxes would have to be raised by $225 mil4lion to avoid "disabling" reductions in education and other social services. Republican lawmakers, however, declined to consider her tax proposals.

The Senate had proposed eliminating the budget shortfall in part by suspending payments to the state retirement fund for teachers and state employees, but the House rejected that move.

In a related development, a group representing state employees and retirees has launched a petition drive for a ballot initiative to raise an additional $160 million for education by means of some of the Governor's tax proposals.

The initiative, which would appear on the November 1990 ballot, would raise the property-tax rate for utilities and boost the severance tax on copper. It also would prohibit the legislature from diverting contributions to the state retirement fund to other areas of the budget.

And it would grant a homeowners' tax rebate to residents of retirement communities. An organization representing retirement-community residents, which is one of the eight groups organizing the petition drive, has urged the legislature and the state courts to repeal a property tax imposed on such communities last year.--ef

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