PHOENIX — A plan by some Republican gubernatorial hopefuls to eliminate the state income tax is getting a chilly reception from the woman they hope to replace.
At a forum of candidates today, Secretary of State Ken Bennett and state Sen. Al Melvin said they want to scrap the tax on both individuals and corporations that currently provides about $4.4 billion of the current $9.2 billion state budget.
Bennett has said he would make up the difference with sales taxes, albeit at a lower rate than the current 5.6 percent but by imposing the levy on services and other transactions not taxes.
And Melvin figures that phasing it out over eight years, coupled with "tort reform'' limits on jury awards against corporations and others, will generate enough economic activity to make up any losses with the current sales tax rate.
But incumbent Jan Brewer, who crafted the basis for the new budget just adopted by lawmakers that includes both levies, said she doesn't see that happening.
"It's going to be very difficult,'' said Brewer who sat through today's joint appearance that featured the top six Republican contenders. Nor does she accept the idea that the revenues can be made up, whether through sales taxes or even some enhanced business climate.
"I don't believe it would work in the state of Arizona,'' Brewer said.