State Capitol News
11:59 am
Thu February 4, 2010

Brewer defends legislative budget plan

Phoenix, AZ – When Brewer talked with Arizona Public Radio before taking office
last year, she said she wasn't willing to do the kind of
borrowing proposed by Janet Napolitano just days before she quit
to take a job in the Obama administration. Brewer said it was
borrowing -- quote -- that got us into the crisis that we're in.
Last month Brewer proposed to plug the $1.4 billion hole that
remains in the budget with an immediate sales tax hike, a new
levy on repair services, some spending cuts and a 5 percent
salary reduction for state employees. What the Senate passed
Tuesday -- and what is set for a House vote today -- includes
$1.2 billion in short- and long-term borrowing. The tax hike
would be referred to voters in May, too late to help this budget
year. And there are no spending cuts. On Wednesday, Brewer said
the failure of lawmakers to adopt her plan leaves her no choice
but to back the legislative alternative.

(We have got to balance the budget the best way we know how. Of
course, it's not the best way to do business. But I did not
create the problem. I am going to be the truth-teller. And I'm
going to solve the problem.)

Even with Brewer's support some question remains whether there
are enough votes in the House for the package, with some
Republicans opposed to borrowing without spending cuts and
resistance by some members of both parties to hiking sales taxes
to balance future budgets. For Arizona Public Radio this is
Howard Fischer.