Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed legislation Wednesday to let corporations divert tax dollars for scholarships to public and private schools.
Napolitano acknowledged lawmakers had made the tax credit a fiveyear pilot program as she had wanted last year.
She vetoed similar legislation then because there was no self-destruct date on the program.
But on Wednesday, the governor, in a two-sentence message to legislators, said any plan to alter the state’s tax system is “premature.”
Napolitano left the door open to revisiting the issue when she and lawmakers negotiate the entire budget for the upcoming year.
The governor also vetoed:
• Making an immediate $316 million deposit into the state’s “rainy day” fund, also calling that “premature” before decisions are made about funding “important state needs.”
• Sweeping some unspent federal grants into the state treasury where they would be subject to legislative appropriation;
• Preventing tax dollars from going to the state’s Sports and Tourism Authority — responsible for financing the Cardinals stadium, Cactus League training facilities and some community sports fields — when the agency does not generate enough from a tax on salaries of professional football players.
Napolitano’s veto of the tax credits measure could have the biggest impact.
Some Republican legislators say her failure to fulfill what they believe was a promise to sign the bill with a five-year sunset provision makes it less likely they can continue to bargain with her on funding for English language learners.
“The hurt and disappointment inflicted by the second veto of the scholarship tax credit is going to make it difficult to continue good-faith negotiations,” said Senate President Ken Bennett, R-Prescott.
Time is running out: The state has to come up with an acceptable English learner plan next week or face fines starting at $500,000 a day.