Brewer Faces a New Budget Fight With Fellow Republicans
By Daniel C. Vock, Staff Writer
When Arizona Governor Jan Brewer first took office, she immediately ran into opposition from her own GOP colleagues in the legislature on her budget ideas. The two sides worked out their differences only after a lawsuit, seven special sessions and nearly a year of acrimony.
This year, Brewer and Republican lawmakers are at odds again.
The latest clash is over the size of Brewer's budget proposal, which is $200 million larger than lawmakers want, reports the East Valley Tribune. Brewer wants the money to increase mental health services, boost funding to universities and pay better rates to doctors who treat poor patients for the state. A Brewer spokesman said the legislature's zero-growth proposal is "short-sighted and reckless."
But Senator Don Shooter told the paper that lawmakers do not anticipate the state getting as much revenue as the governor's office projects. The state could lose money when its three-year sales tax increase expires, the federal health care overhaul could add to state expenses and a double-dip recession may still hurt the state treasury, he said.
Legislators already thwarted one of Brewer's most ambitious budget goals this year. During her state of the state speech, she called for lawmakers to buy back buildings on its Capitol complex in time for Arizona's centennial celebration. The centennial was a week ago, and the state still does not own its Capitol buildings. They were sold off to save money amid severe budget deficits at the height of the recession.