State Capitol News
8:52 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Brewer to Lay Out Achievements in Final State of the State Speech

Gov. Jan Brewer outlines her agenda today in what will likely be her final State of the State speech. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer takes a look.

Gov. Jan Brewer and House Speaker Andy Tobin chat at a luncheon Friday. Brewer gives what is likely her final State of the State speech on Monday in the House chambers.
Credit Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer

Much of the speech will highlight Brewer’s priorities, like new economic development incentives, a plan to financially reward schools whose students improve, and a fix for Child Protective Services. But, since this is likely her last such speech, listeners should also expect to hear about what she believes is her legacy, some of which she discussed with Arizona Public Radio.

“I would like to believe that Jan Brewer inherited the worst budget deficit in the history of our state during a terrible recession and that she had a plan and that she turned it around and that she, in fact, balanced the budget, with a cash carry-forward and a rainy-day fund,” Brewer said.

She did inherit a $3 billion shortfall, but her claim of a balanced budget has an asterisk. That’s because Arizona actually is spending $400 million more than it takes in, making that up with what’s left over from the now-expired temporary 1-cent sales tax.

“But we know that. We anticipated that. We planned for that,” Brewer said. “So the plan has been executed and played out exactly how we planned it.”

Brewer acknowledged that the surplus will be gone after next year. But, she insisted the tax breaks and other incentives enacted by the state will eventually provide enough new business to prevent another deficit.