Governor Jan Brewer penned her approval Monday to a nearly 8-point-6 billion dollar spending plan for the coming year, although it wasn't quite what she wanted.
Brewer pronounced herself very pleased with the plan.
"You know," she said, "we've got a carry forward. We've got a balanced budget. We put money into the rainy day fund. I got more dollars for education, protected the chronically mentally ill with the Arnold v. Sarn. DPS which was another priority of mine. You know, I'm just really happy with what we were able to complete and give to the public."
Brewer did get cash for some priorities, like the mental health funding to keep the state in compliance with that Arnold lawsuit, and $50 million over the next two years for a new maximum security prison. But that $450 million funneled this year and next into that rainy day fund was NOT her idea. In fact, she wanted less saving and more spending -- like $200 million for books, computers and other supplies for public schools. But lawmakers demanded the savings account as a buffer against possible future deficits, noting the temporary one-cent sales tax surcharge expires next year. The governor was philosophical about the final package.
"Well," said Brewer, "I don't think anybody moves forward thinking they're going to get everything they want in negotiations. That why you have negotiations. But in the end, we completed our duties and I think we were very, very successful."