Golfland in Mesa should rename their lazy river ride the "2010 Arizona Budget." So far we've done a lot of circling around while bobbing up and down and bumping into each other. Meanwhile, the 2nd degree sunburn is setting in and no one seems to notice or care that it's going to sting a lot more the longer we wait.
After months of back and forth, the House and Senate passed a budget they aren't going to give to the Governor. They only we able to pass it because they promised she wouldn't see it, but they also are using it as a bargaining chip with her. At east there is progress somewhere.
One problem though, no one can agree to the size of the hole. First, there's that little Billion Dollar discrepancy regarding the deficit. Everything I've seen from the Legislature says $3 billion give or take $100 million. The Gov's budget puts it at $4 Billion. Then, the latest news is that that the Governor says the Legislative budget wipes out over a billion in stimulus money. If that's the case, both budgets are off the table since both rely heavily on the money.
Here's what needs to happen very soon.
Agree on the size of the deficit. At first glance, the deficit is probably not quite $4B but is definitely more than $3.5B. It makes no sense is downright dishonest to pass a budget you know starts off in the red. The per diem isn't much, but coming back to fix a problem you know about now, is just a waste of taxpayer money you claim to hold so dear.
Don't mess around with the stimulus money. We know we are one of the few states chosen already for an audit so why test fate. Lets not make national news for screwing up the stimulus money, because no one wins in the situation and we have enough problems already.