AARP Arizona is against Governor Doug Ducey’s proposal of a flat income tax that has become the main sticking point in State Budget negotiations at the State Capitol. They believe it will negatively impact older Arizonans. Dana Marie Kennedy spoke with us about the organization’s stance.
Kennedy begins the discussion by saying, “I think we need to look at the budget–three pronged; So, we have a national budget that provides a lot of resources for seniors mostly through Medicare, and then we have a state budget that often provides additional resources through home and community based services, and also our long term care system, and Medicare also covers some of that. Then we also have our cities and states and county resources that provide a lot of services also to keep seniors in their home. They often provide meals on wheels transportation. We know that there’s a growing homeless senior population, so cities have actually been working really hard to make sure that seniors are a priority.”
The budget helps fund those that are older living in the state but the flat tax could likely decrease the government funding for older Arizonans.
“I had mayors contact me and they were concerned that the work that they’re doing for seniors would be, would be lost if this flat tax came through because there’s some shared resources there for cities. And so a lot of the programs and services that seniors rely on are funded at the city level as well as the state level as well as the federal level,” Kennedy said.
More older individuals are coming to Arizona and, “…our state budget really needs to reflect the those numbers of people living with dementia, as well as people who want to retire here. A diagnosis with dementia is very expensive and in order for somebody to be able to live with dementia, you need to provide services for them. So our budget really should be reflecting a growing population of seniors,” Kennedy said.
She stated that, “I think that this flat tax is not a good idea at all and it doesn’t properly invest where we should be investing to be a great state that we are.”