State Not Paying Off Statehouse Mortgage This Year

Feb 15, 2012

Gov. Jan Brewer is not going to get her centennial wish for the state.

When the governor gave her State of the State speech last month she asked lawmakers to set aside $106 million to buy back the House, Senate and executive tower. They were sold off -- essentially mortgaged -- two years ago to raise operating cash. Brewer said lawmakers should use part of the current surplus to pay off the debt by the state's 100th birthday.

But John Kavanagh who chairs the House Appropriations Committee said today that did not happen because not everyone thinks that's a good idea.

"A lot of members," he said, "want to pay down the debt. And others want to put it into a larger rainy day fund so in 2015 if we have a major shortfall we can handle it without drastic program cuts."

Kavanagh said lawmakers will revisit the early payoff proposal next year. The governor told Arizona Public Radio she was disappointed.

"I thought it would be a very nice gesture on behalf of our elected officials and myself to be able to pay the Capitol off in celebration of this very wonderful day," said the Governor. "I think it's important that we own the state Capitol."