Two Mohave County legislators skeptical of Napolitano's plans

Two lawmakers representing Mohave County expressed doubts Monday that the state's strained finances could support programs Gov. Janet Napolitano outlined in her State of the State Address.

"She wants to call this book a classic, but it's a book of fairy tales," said Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City. "All of it is going to cost money that we don't have."

While Gould and Rep. Nancy McLain, R-Bullhead City, agreed that the governor's speech outlined some good ideas, such as sending more doctors and nurses to rural areas and freezing tuition while a student is in college, they questioned how those goals could be realized without a tax hike.

"The devil is in the details," McLain said. "We don't have the money, and I don't see how we will get through this phase without spending more taxpayer dollars."

Gould said he supports cutting ineffective or non-essential programs to help balance the budget but said he would not support any measure requiring raising taxes.

As for the state's overall economic outlook, McLain said she is optimistic but that Napolitano underestimates the impact of the state's budget deficit.

McLain said that the governor's proposed statewide transportation plan is an important one but doubts that it will have any effect on an issue important to her constituents: the construction of a bridge from Bullhead City to Laughlin.

"Federal funding for the bridge is necessary," McLain said. "Bullhead City needs it before we get gridlocked."

McLain acknowledged that in the state's current financial climate it will be tough for legislators to gain support for any ambitious projects.