Wednesday, August 12, 2009

This is what Jan Brewer wrote on July 1. She was right then. Will she still stand by it?

It looks like the Arizona Senate passed (and the house will probably pass tomorrow) a budget similar to the one that Governor Brewer vetoed on July 1 (and just like on that occasion, they also won't refer her sales tax proposal to the ballot.) And just like on that occasion, it cuts even deeper to accomodate a repeal of the state property tax.

Here is what she wrote in explaining her decision to veto the budget on July 1:

"I am deeply disappointed to report to the people of Arizona that the Legislature has been unable to send me a responsible budget plan. While Senate President Bob Burns and House Speaker Kirk Adams have worked with tremendous effort and diligence to reach a reasonable compromise with my proposal, regrettably, those efforts have fallen short.

"As a result, I received early this morning a fatally flawed legislative budget. The legislative budget ignores my consistently expressed goals and instead incorporates devastating cuts to education, public safety, and our state's most vital health services for the frail. In particular this package of bills is shortsighted in that it sets up an enormous revenue shortfall that will severly harm our State's
[sic] future.

"Therefore I have carefully and selectively chosen to line-item veto portions of the legislation which allows me to add back funds for vital services and public safety so those critical programs are unaffected. Additionally, due to my actions today, state government services will continue to function. Improvements in education funding, however, will require significantly more legislative work.

"As Governor, I intend to see this through until we have achieved together what I have long advocated -- a prudent budget that neither over-spends nor under-funds. To ensure that happens, I am calling a Special Session of the Legislature and I ask that legislators re-dedicate themselves in a bi-partisan fashion to crafting a budget that reflects favorably on the future of Arizona.

Had the legislature actually followed her advice and chosen to work in a bi-partisan fashion, we would probably have an acceptable budget by now. But their insistence on continuing down the road they were on, trying to create a Republican-only vote (and with the backdrop that a critical block of Republicans were having their votes dictated by Grover Norquist) led them right back down the same dead end.

Now we have to ask whether the Governor meant what she said, especially the last sentence on July 1. If she meant it then she has no choice, she must veto this budget too and demand that Democrats be included in the negotiations this time.

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