State Capitol News
10:37 pm
Wed March 5, 2008

Republicans pass budget proposal

Phoenix, AZ – Unable to negotiate a deal so far with Democrats, legislative
Republicans on Thursday pushed through their own partial version
of a new budget. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports on
what it does -- and does not -- do.


The latest figures show at least a $1.2 billion gap between tax
collections and spending, with just four months left in the
budget year to make up the difference. The measure approved
Thursday doesn't bridge that gap. But House Majority Leader Tom
Bonne said it directs each state agency to put a set amount of
money aside now -- before it's gone -- in case it's needed.

(This is not a budget. It's simply a management tool. And it's
reasonable and prudent to freeze, to secure those funds so that
we've got them available to us when we do have a budget
agreement, which I anticipate hopefully, by passing a bill like
this, will actually speed up the process to get a budget
agreement done rather than slow it down.)

But that logic doesn't impress Gov. Janet Napolitano. She wants
the Republican-controlled Legislature to adopt her budget-
balancing plan -- one that involves smaller spending cuts and
$400 million in borrowing. Gubernatorial press aide Shilo
Mitchell also said she wants the entire package now -- one that
includes the priorities of her Democrat legislative allies.

(The governor has said that the budget should not be presented to
her in a piece-meal fashion. And it should be a bipartisan
process.)

The anticipated veto could come early next week.

For Arizona Public Radio, this is Howard Fischer.