by Jim Nintzel
Just in time for Labor Day weekend, we sorta have a state budget. Not that it’s balanced or anything, but Gov. Jan Brewer did some slicing and dicing of the GOP blueprint that came her way and says she’s mostly done for now, at least when it comes to talking lawmakers into putting her sales-tax proposal on the ballot. (Rep. Steve Farley tells us a special session to clean up some of the budget details may be in the offing next week.)
Long story short (we’ll work on getting more details here over the weekend and in next week’s print edition): Brewer vetoed the $250 million property tax cut and used the funds to restore other cuts in education and welfare spending.
But it appears the state will not have enough money to make it through the fiscal year, so we can expect more cuts when the Legislature reconvenes in January.
And on top of that, the stimulus funds that are helping to get us through this fiscal year will be gone when it comes time to start writing the 2011 budget next January.
Various talking points from different players:
Gov. Jan Brewer: “This fall and in the next regular session of the Legislature, legislative leaders and I must work to break the stranglehold that
a handful of Republican and Democratic EXTREMISTS have on the Arizona legislature.”
Republican Speaker of the House Kirk Adams: “While no budget is perfect, the one sent to the Governor was both responsible and pro-economic growth. The Governor’s actions today have increased the structural deficit at the expense of Arizona’s taxpayers. To expect citizens to fund additional government spending by imposing the largest property tax increase in Arizona’s history will not only exacerbate the current economic crisis, but also result in an additional burden to families.”
Republican Senate President Bob Burns: The Legislature had hoped to avoid negatively impacting our fragile economy with a record tax increase in the midst of a recession. We believe we provided the governor with a responsible budget. Now we have more questions than answers, but—again—we will continue to work towards a responsible budget for Arizonans.”
House Minority Leader David Lujan: “How much longer will it take for Gov. Brewer and Republican lawmakers to realize it will take real, bipartisan budget negotiations to solve our state’s economic crisis? Like all Arizonans, Democrats are just as frustrated with the total lack of leadership on the state budget. It is absurd that the governor and the legislature now has had eight months to pass a bipartisan budget and still can’t get the job done. This kind of behavior is unacceptable.”
Assistant House Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema: “The choices during these negotiations were tax breaks for big corporations or essential funding for education and vital social services. They cost the same amount of money. Democrats chose funding education. And based on her line-item vetoes to education cuts today, it sounds to us like our interest were the same as hers. We are confused as to why the governor is choosing to blame Democrats.”