State Capitol News
5:11 pm
Tue March 22, 2011

Impasse Developing Over New State Budget

Phoenix, AZ – The governor's budget plan mostly protects K-12 education from
further cuts. But the Senate plan approved last week takes close
to $250 million away from public schools. Senate Majority Leader
Andy Biggs said he and his colleagues will not support what they
see as a dishonest budget.

(Borrowing money from First Things First, rolling over $250
million in K-12, having the AHCCCS rollover, really what we
technically call gimmicks, accounting gimmiks, borrowing. And we
think a better approach is to have a structurally balanced
budget.)

Biggs said if Brewer does not want to cut K-12 funding it is up
to her to come up with an alternative, meaning actual spending
reductions somewhere else. The governor said it's not that
simple.

(Well, I think they need to convince me where those cuts should
come from. Right now I'm very, very concerned and want to protect
education.)

The governor acknowledged she took the lead last year in getting
voters to approve a temporary sales tax hike. But she said that
was not a promise there would be no cuts to education.

(I said I would try to protect education and that it was not a
cure-all moving forward. And, so far, I will try to hold my hand
in front of the spigot and protect education. That's what I've
said all along.)

For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.