Lawmakers Put Off Tax Credit Work

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Governor Owens and legislative leaders are postponing all legislation on tax credits until November.

That's when voters will decide whether to give up more than three billion dollars in tax surplus refunds over the next five years.

Democratic Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald says Owens and legislative leaders wanted to avoid giving voters the impression that lawmakers were trying to spend the money on special interests before they get it.

Tax credits have been sharply criticized by Democrats, who say Owens used 18 tax credits starting in 1999 to reward his supporters out of the state's tax surplus.

Lawmakers say if voters approve their plan in November, all the tax credits based on the tax surplus would be suspended for five years or until surpluses return. That had prompted a flurry of bills seeking to latch on to refund dollars.

Owens and leaders from both parties have put together a November ballot initiative intended to solve the state's fiscal crisis, which many blame on the taxpayer refunds and other requirements of the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights.