SHOCKING PREDICTIONS FOR 2008!In what has become a tradition in these parts, The Skinny turned to staff psychic Stella Sabrini to peer into the future and let us know what headlines we can expect in the year ahead.
JANUARYAs Arizona budget deficit grows to $1.2 billion, Gov. Janet Napolitano delivers State of the State address. Theme: Let's stretch those bucks! The Arizona Legislature swings into session vowing to tackle budget shortfall; GOP leadership proposes $500 million income-tax cut, saying it will provide "economic electroshock."
Senate President Tim Bee shocks the pundits with his announcement that he will not run for Congress, saying that the half-million dollars raised by his exploratory committee just isn't enough to make him competitive with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio leads raid on Hilton Squaw Peak resort, discovers an undocumented worker changing sheets. After a swift prosecution by Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, Hilton hotels lose Arizona business license.
FEBRUARYState budget deficit grows to $1.5 billion. Lawmakers abandon budget talks in favor of legislation that prohibits restaurant owners from serving food to illegal immigrants. Napolitano vetoes the bill.
The Tucson City Council takes over now-closed Tucson Hilton to move homeless from downtown and improve Rio Nuevo revitalization conditions.
With Bee out of the congressional race, Republican Randy Graf announces he'd be willing to give up his new job helping American companies relocate to Mexico and try another run for Congress--if Bee would jump-start his campaign by transferring the half-million dollars he raised. Bee announces he'll contribute the money to the state treasury to help with budget shortfall instead.
MARCHBudget deficit grows to $1.8 billion. State lawmakers propose eliminating spending on universities, suggesting the schools pursue private sponsorships.
The Tucson City Council announces a new sustainability agenda and votes to replace all city vehicles with Segways.
Arpaio uncovers an undocumented worker making quarter-pounders while raiding a McDonald's franchise owned by Mac Magruder, a leader in the legal challenge to Arizona's new employer-sanctions law. McDonald's loses its license to do business in Arizona.
APRILBudget deficit grows to $2.1 billion. State lawmakers propose solving shortfall by taking over Arizona McDonald's outlets and staffing the fast-food restaurants with prisoners who will be paid 15 cents an hour. Napolitano vetoes bill.
Tucson City Council proposes that all Rio Nuevo projects have solar grids atop roofs to charge city's new fleet of Segways.
With Graf unwilling to join congressional race, GOP leaders try to recruit former Steve Huffman. The former lawmaker declines, citing his new career as a Maglite flashlight spokesman.
MAYBudget deficit climbs to $2.5 billion. With one month left in the fiscal year, GOP lawmakers propose solving budget shortfall with bag of magic beans.
Tucson City Council announces ban on clothes dryers within city limits, saying that citizens should return to hanging their laundry on clotheslines to save energy.
Republican effort to recruit former Green Beret Frank Antenori for congressional run against Giffords fails when Antenori declares he's more interested in a state House of Representatives seat. Republican Party finally settles on mechanic Mike Jenkins, who captured 2 percent of the vote in 2006 primary.
Arpaio leads raid on D.R. Horton homes construction site. D.R. Horton loses license to build homes in Arizona. D.R. Horton CEO says he doesn't really mind, since he hadn't sold a house in Arizona in three months, anyway.
JUNEState lawmakers finally reach budget deal, balancing the budget with the Smoke and Mirrors Act, which institutes a new $5-a-pack tax on cigarettes and a $3 tax on the sale of all mirrors. Budget experts express doubt that revenues will be sufficient for state's spending needs, but Napolitano signs bill.
The Tucson City Council votes to force citizens to replace all light bulbs in their homes with low-energy models by 2010.
Jenkins fails to gather enough signatures on his nomination petitions to make congressional ballot, leaving Giffords unopposed in her re-election effort.
JULYPerennial candidate Joe Sweeney announces he'll run as a write-in candidate against Giffords. Arizona Republican Party chairman Randy Pullen says the GOP stands tall behind Sweeney, described by Pullen as "a good Republican who has long fought the good fight to secure our borders."
The Tucson City Council considers creating a Water Sustainability Authority to take over Tucson Water, saying water policy has grown too complicated for them to understand.
Arpaio leads raid on Chase Field, finds Guatemalan who crossed border illegally selling Diamond Dogs in stands at Arizona Diamondbacks game. D'Backs lose license to do business in Arizona, relocate to Salt Lake City over all-star break.
AUGUSTEveryone involved in politics spends the month in San Diego.
SEPTEMBERThanks to support from the Arizona Republican Party, Sweeney gets enough write-in votes in GOP primary to make the November ballot. He vows to build a wall, moat and minefield to secure the border. Pullen praises Sweeney's "fresh and innovative ideas" and says Giffords "is a tax-raising surrender monkey who wants to open the border to terrorists."
The Tucson City Council is on the verge of handing off Tucson Water to the Water Sustainability Authority when Councilman Steve Leal launches into lengthy speech on voter representation. His colleagues nod off and neglect to vote on proposal.
Arpaio leads raid on Honeywell, discovers high-tech programmer from Romania with an expired visa. Honeywell loses license to do business in Arizona.
OCTOBERThe Joint Legislative Budget Committee reports Smoke and Mirrors Act has failed to provide enough revenue to keep state afloat. Napolitano attempts to call lawmakers into special session to resolve fiscal crisis, but GOP leadership refuses to raise taxes.
UA space scientists notice a strange object approaching Earth while examining photos from the Cassini-Huygens probe in orbit around Saturn.
NOVEMBERNapolitano is forced to declare that the state of Arizona is bankrupt, leaving no money available to run November elections. The Giffords-Sweeney race is decided by a coin toss that Sweeney wins. Pullen announces: "Our long national nightmare is over. Joe Sweeney will carry the Republican ideals back to Washington."
UA space scientists use HiRISE camera in orbit around Mars to identify object approaching Earth as a spacecraft of some kind. They announce that a close encounter of the third kind may be on the horizon.
DECEMBERState of Arizona is purchased by the United Arab Emirates; the country immediately fires entire Arizona Legislature.
Unidentified spacecraft lands atop "A" Mountain. Hohokam Indians emerge from spacecraft and lay claim to Arizona, declaring all current residents to be illegal immigrants. Citizens are ordered to leave the state or face disintegration by Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator.