State Capitol News
10:33 pm
Wed May 28, 2008

Legislature and Governor still can't agree on budget

Phoenix, AZ – The top Republican legislators met this morning with Governor Janet Napolitano in efforts to finally enact a new state budget. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports.


There are now less than five weeks until the new budget year
begins with no agreement between the Republican-controlled
Legislature and the Democrat governor. Senate President Tim Bee
said after the meeting he recognizes the time constraints.

(Well, obviously, the sooner we can get done, the better. So,
essentially, our plan is to begin getting our offers on the table
and getting to the details as quickly as we can.)

That means for Republicans to present a counter-offer to
Napolitano's proposal to make up a $2 billion gap between tax
collections and expenses with some borrowing, raiding special
funds and revenue enhancers like generating $90 million from a
new statewide photo radar system. Republicans want less borrowing
and deeper cuts. But House Speaker Jim Weiers said a specific GOP
response was delayed because of problems getting spending
information from state agencies which answer to the governor.

(When we're talking to department heads there seems to be a
little bit of a lag as to the request, as to them checking and
seeing what they're going to give and when they're going to give
it. With the governor talking and she says 'I want something,'
the agency heads will respond. With us, it's not been that
responsive.)

The next step is for Democrats to respond to the Republican
offer.

For Arizona Public Radio, this is Howard Fischer.