State Senate Budget $200 Million Less Than What Gov. Brewer Sought

Mar 18, 2014

Senate Republicans unveiled their own $9.1 billion spending plan Monday. But, it already is getting a cool reception from Gov. Jan Brewer who sought about $200 million more. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

Senate President Andy Biggs

One of the key differences is funding for the state’s new child-welfare agency. Brewer asked for $74 million on top of the cash she got earlier this year. That includes $25 million in one-time expenses to move the agency from a division of the Department of Economic Security to its own department. But, Senate President Andy Biggs said he found no justification for the amount of cash requested by the governor, saying it’s not going to fly just because she said that’s what she needs.

“We’re doing as a good-faith placeholder $5 million for the transition fund. The placeholder was just that. It’s a placeholder for $25 million. No one really knows what that looks like,” Biggs said.

And, Biggs questioned Brewer’s contention she’s going to need $40 million over four years for a new computer system to track child abuse cases. His budget has just $15 million. Gubernatorial press aide Andrew Wilder said this plan is a non-starter.

“We’re glad to see the Senate put something forward. But Gov. Brewer does not support this proposal. And it is far off from what the governor will accept,” Wilder said.

On the other side of the equation, the Senate plan restores some of the gasoline taxes and vehicle registration fees for highway construction and maintenance, money that had been used in prior years to balance the budget. Hearings on the plan begin Tuesday.