State Capitol News
10:39 am
Thu February 23, 2012

Governor Won't Negotiate on Budget, Unless.....

Governor Jan Brewer is going to give state lawmakers the silent treatment until she gets her way on the budget -- or at least some of what she wants. 

Brewer's staffers and those of the Republican legislative leadership had met off and on since the governor unveiled her spending plan in January. But on Monday, before there was any meeting of the minds, the GOP leaders not only trotted out their own proposal but shoved it through committees the following day. Gubernatorial press aide Matthew Benson said that's not acceptable.

"The governor has instructed that her budget staff won't be negotiating with legislative budget staff until the Legislature amends its proposal and makes some good-faith efforts to reflect some of the priorities and concerns the governor's made clear," said Benson.

A whole list of things Brewer wants are missing from the legislative plan. These include $100 million for books and supplies for public schools, $50 million for a new maximum security prison and $15 million for a performance funding plan for the state's three universities. Other issues involve staffing for the Department of Public Safety and community college scholarships. Benson acknowledged that these are the kind of things normally worked out in negotiations.

"Yes, but your proposal needs to be at least a good-faith proposal or else we're just wasting everybody's time," he said.

So far, though, legislative leaders show no sign of backing off.