State Capitol News
2:50 pm
Tue March 15, 2011

State Senators Move to Make Even Deeper Spending Cuts than Proposed by Governor Brewer

Phoenix, AZ – The Republican plan would slice about $350 million out of K-12
education, a section of the budget Brewer had hoped to largely
protect. And it would take at least another $60 million away from
state aid to universities on top of the $170 million proposed by
the governor. Senate President Russell Pearce said his caucus,
unlike the governor, does not want to deal with the $1.1 billion
deficit for next year with what he called gimmicks and borrowing.
Of some note is the Pearce plans a one-day session to make the
plan public, vote on it and send it to the House. Pearce made no
apologies about that.

(You can't draft bills until you have an agreement with your
members. So everybody knows what we're doing. We've worked it for
ages. We've made it very clear we're going to balance the budget.
We were sent down here to balance the budget. Working the details
is a very, very difficult issue. And I think we're there and
we'll push it out.)

That means any real chance for public input will come in the
House. Speaker Kirk Adams said at least part of the reason for
that is that his caucus is not yet sold on the Senate plan. But
Adams said the two chambers do agree that next year's budget
should not have borrowing or other accounting maneuvers.

(We have a budget deficit. And because we have a budget deficit
it means we have to make difficult decisions. If you look at the
level of cuts compared to other areas of state government you
will find a reasonable and lower level of those cuts for those
areas.)

The decision by Senate Republicans to proceed on their own
disappointed Brewer.

(I think it would have probably served us all better if we could
have all come to an agreement and made those decisions
collectively. But I think that we still will be back at the table
working together and getting the budget out that satisfies all
parties.)

That, however, is not likely as Democrats say they've been
excluded from the talks. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard
Fischer.