Gov. Brewer lays out 2013 goals to Legislature - New York News

Gov. Brewer lays out 2013 goals to Legislature

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Gov. Jan Brewer, Jan. 14, 2013 Gov. Jan Brewer, Jan. 14, 2013
PHOENIX -

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer plans to boost funding for Child Protective Services and push for the Legislature to reform the state's sales tax collection system this year.

Here's some of the goals she outlined Monday in her annual State of the State speech.

Emergency funding to add CPS workers

Brewer says her budget will include money to add 150 Child Protective Services workers and she wants emergency funding to hire 50 immediately.

Brewer says Arizona has improved operations at CPS in the past year by creating a special law enforcement unit to investigate the worst cases, overhauling the child abuse hotline reporting system, cutting paperwork burdens and streamlining hiring.

But Brewer says more needs to be done to address what she calls a "moral issue" of protecting children.

Brewer says the proposal she releases Friday for the budget year beginning July 1 will call for more school resource officers to keep children safe from violence.

Medicaid

Brewer says she will expand the state's Medicaid program to cover citizens who earn up to 133 percent of the poverty line.

The Republican governor said that she has fought against the federal health care law known as the Affordable Care Act. But she cited President Barack Obama's re-election and last summer's U.S. Supreme Court ruling in saying that the law is here to stay.

The Supreme Court did give states the option of not signing on to the expansion. But Brewer says virtually all of the expansion will be funded by the federal government, and not taking the money wouldn't contribute to the lowering of federal deficits.

She added that expanding Medicaid will help poor Arizonans and help hospitals and caregivers who now must give care without pay.

Sales tax collection overhaul

Brewer wants the Legislature to enact her proposal for a comprehensive simplification of the state's sales tax collection system.

Brewer says the current system has so many twists and turns it is extremely difficult for businesses to pay what they owe. She says business owners serving multiple cities must file multiple tax returns with multiple tax bases and undergo multiple audits. She wants a system that has just one form and one filing per business.

Cities and towns object to some of the proposal because they would lose money from new construction sales taxes. House speaker Andy Tobin has said he's listening and open to changes.

Border security before immigration reform

Brewer says she won't support efforts to reform the nation's immigration system until the border with Mexico is secure.

The Republican said that she's heard the calls for immigration reform and agrees that the nation's system is broken. But she says the federal government must fulfill its promise of border security before she'll back reform efforts.

She says steep declines in illegal crossings along the Border Patrol's Yuma sector are proof that security is possible. She urged more action to secure the Tucson Sector as well. The Tucson region is the busiest in the nation for human and drug smuggling.

Once that's done Brewer vowed to work with others to reform immigration laws.

School funding tied to performance

Brewer wants to tie some new school funding to performance.

Brewer says the state has already enacted rules requiring schools to focus on core standards and to identify students having difficulty reading by the 3rd Grade. But she says one in four third-graders can't read at grade level, and it's no coincidence that one in four students drops out of high school.

So she says she's proposing a comprehensive performance funding plan for school districts and charter schools. She says the plan would augment per-student funding with an innovative approach to promoting school performance.

She didn't release details during her annual State of the State speech to a joint session of the Legislature on Monday. Those will likely come when she releases her proposed 2013-2014 budget Friday.

 

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press modified.

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