State Capitol News
4:11 am
Wed February 20, 2008

Republicans consider budget fix

Phoenix, AZ – Republican lawmakers are preparing to adopt their own plan to
balance the budget today despite a possible veto. Arizona Public
Radio's Howard Fischer reports.


State expenses are currently running about $1.2 billion ahead of
revenues. Gov. Janet Napolitano has proposed about $150 million
in targeted cuts, plugging much of the gap with borrowing. Bob
Burns who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee said that's
not acceptable. He wants bigger cuts, something the governor has
refused to accept. Burns said that attitude ignores the economic
situation -- and the possibility of even more red ink next year.

(Sometimes you have to do things that are not pleasant,
especially when you have a deficit in the $2 billion range. It
boggles my mind that we don't have some dramatic correction plan
in place.)

Burns noted some cities and counties are weighing layoffs,
something the governor won't implement. Burns acknowledged it's
probably too late in the budget year for sharper cuts. So the GOP
plan makes up most of the difference by virtually draining the
state's entire $700 million rainy day fund.

(It isn't a responsible move. It's the only move. Time is
slipping away from us every day in 2008. And we need to get
something done.)

Gubernatorial press aide Shilo Mitchell would not say directly if
her boss would veto the bill. But she said Napolitano governor
considers the plan -- quote -- a big step backward.

For Arizona Public Radio, this is Howard Fischer.