State Capitol News
9:50 am
Fri January 4, 2008

Republicans criticize governor's budget plan

Phoenix, AZ – Host Intro: Governor Janet Napolitano released her plan Thursday to balance this year's state budget. But Arizona Public
Radio's Howard Fischer reports that key Republican legislators say there's less there than meets the eye.


Napolitano's plan involves borrowing nearly $400
million to build schools this year. That frees up the
cash for other priorities. The governor also has what
she said is $214 million in savings. But Rep. Rusell
Pearce, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee,
said many of these do not actually make permanent cuts
in state spending but simply put off expenses into
future budget years.

(You have to have permanent fixes here. We're looking
at a $1.9 billion deficit for fiscal 09. Anything you
can't fix in 09, this just defers the problem. When
you're out of money, you can't pay your bills, most
people don't go out and get another Visa card.)

But gubernatorial press aide Jeanine L'Ecuyer said
Napolitano's approach makes sense.

(To be able to do what Arizona needs to do, in other
words, to maintain basic services, to cut any further
could do some real significant damage. And that's
something the governor is trying to avoid. That's why
the financing of schools is so important.)

Republicans will release their own plan today, one that
will share at least one thing in common with the
governor. It will take some money from the state's
rainy day fund.

For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard
Fischer.