Monday, November 23, 2009

They did it!!

After a weekend of anticipation, the legislature met today (a few hours later then planned) and approved on party lines $300 million in cuts from the state budget. The Senate started off the morning looking for Democratic votes but after last weeks AWOL, Sen Thayer Verschoor was in the building a was a yes vote.

Governor Brewer will be signing the bills today. The cuts and changes will be immediate. The cuts scratch the surface of the overall deficit but is a start. The question is, is this session a sign of things to come?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Special Session Stopped Short - Governor Reacts

Earlier this week, Governor Brewer called a special session to cut over $300 million from the State's budget. The special session didn't go as planned, as Senator Vershoor opted not to vote for the fix because of disagreements with other policy issues. Not a single Democrat voted for the budget cuts. Below is Brewer's release on the failure in the Senate:


PHOENIX – “I would like to thank those in the legislature that stepped up and returned to the Capitol for a special session that was intended to start a recovery process in a state that is suffering terribly from a budget deficit of epic proportions, a budget crisis years in the making.

“The sheer magnitude of Arizona’s budget deficit is unprecedented and requires immediate action by each and every member of the Arizona Legislature. Unfortunately, every single Democrat and a couple of Republican extremists have, once again, thwarted this effort to slow government spending. It is time to put self-interests and personal agendas aside and do what is in the best interest of the state. Our citizens deserve that and Arizona’s future depends on it.

“The people of the State of Arizona and this Governor expect much more. Budget cuts are absolutely necessary, and to suggest anything different is simply unrealistic. Further responsible budget actions will also be necessary.

“I am meeting this afternoon with the Speaker and President and intend to provide any additional assistance my agencies or I may offer to help them succeed.”

Monday, November 16, 2009

Governor Calls Special Session

And they're back! The governor this afternoon called a 3-day special session that will start tomorrow at noon. Kirk Adams officially announced it through his Twitter Account.

The session is expected to only address cuts, anywhere from $300M to $700M.

We will post all of the details as we hear them. So far, it sounds like the votes are there and may even include some Democrat votes. Then again, when have vote counts ever been accurate??

Update from the Republic Here with confirmation from Sen Pres. Burns.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Governor Brewer Announces Re-Election Bid

Governor Brewer announced tonight that she is indeed running for a full official term as Governor. Her release, sent by email is below.

Governor Jan Brewer Announces Bid for Second Term

Former Attorney General Grant Woods and Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters announced as Campaign Co‐Chairs

PHOENIX –– Arizona Governor Jan Brewer today formally announced her candidacy for a second term as the Governor of the State of Arizona. Brewer, who took the helm as Governor last January in the midst of Arizona’s record financial crisis, pledged to continue to make the tough choices and renewed her steadfast commitment to serving the people of Arizona.

“When I took office, I inherited a budget deficit created from years of overspending and living beyond our means. We have worked hard to start fixing this problem, and made some very tough, but necessary decisions,” said Governor Brewer.

She said her decision to run for election next year is based on a simple philosophy. “I have always been a mother first and an elected official second and have made every decision to run for office based on whether I believed I could help people. I have never run for an office because I was looking to move on to some other office.”

Governor Brewer also proudly announced two distinguished supporters as the co‐chairs who will help lead her campaign committee: Former Attorney General Grant Woods and Former United States Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters.

Former Attorney General Grant Woods served as Arizona’s chief law enforcement agent and prosecutor from 1991 to 1999. During his time in office, Arizona reinstated the death penalty in Arizona. Woods was known as a populist Attorney General and a staunch consumer protection advocate and was selected by his peers as the nation's top attorney general in 1995.Woods said, “I have known Jan for a long time, and I can say that tough times call for a tough leader,” explained Woods, “She understands that the budget isn’t our only policy issue ‐ there are going to be more tough decisions to make, and she has pledged that over the course of her term, she will address the big challenges such as healthcare including mental health, transportation, infrastructure, and protecting our environment.”

Mary Peters, a fourth generation Arizonan, served as the United States Secretary of Transportation under President George W. Bush from 2006 to 2009. Prior to her appointment, Peters served as Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration from 2001 to 2005. She also headed the Arizona Department of Transportation from 1998 to 2001, where she started her career as an administrative assistant 16 years earlier. Throughout her career, Peters, has been a champion for more responsive and smaller government focused on delivering maximum value for taxpayers. She continues to be an advocate for solutions that engage both the public and private sector and shares Governor Brewer’s passion for driving solutions intended to help people.

Peters said, "Governor Brewer understands that we must create a business friendly climate to attract high paying jobs and business investment in Arizona. As we prepare Arizona for the next 100 years of economic growth, not only will we need tax reform, but education reform, creating more opportunities and a highly skilled workforce. Jan Brewer is the best candidate to lead Arizona for the next four years."

Governor Brewer thanked Woods and Peters for their long‐time service to the State of Arizona and the United States as well as for their willingness to serve as co‐ chairs in her bid for a second term. She also thanked all of her supporters for their already overwhelming response.

“There is still a lot of work to be done and it is clear to me to that this is the moment that I was born to serve. I am in this race to win and I expect great things for Arizona,” said Governor Brewer, “I would be honored for your vote.”


Paid for by Governor Jan Brewer 2010

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Special Session and a Bob Burns Editorial

Just because it is November, doesn't mean we can't welcome back our legislature with open arms. Come the week of November 16th we'll do just that. Reports say that is when lawmakers will return to fix almost a half a billion dollars in shortfalls with almost $300 million of that coming from cuts. This is just the beginning since the full year shortfall is approaching $2 Billion.

Senate President Bob Burns wrote an editorial yesterday in the Republic that in one page lays out the situation we are in. I encourage everyone to read it if you don't quite know what's going on, or even if you think you know what's going on. We're in trouble folks and there is no easy way out of it. A temporary tax won't fix it all, and there isn't enough to cut either. An exert from the editorial does a good job of summing it up in a sentence or two.

To maintain a General Fund budget of about $10 billion over the past few years of this recession, your state government - Republicans and Democrats alike - have depleted our savings, delayed payments, swept funds from other accounts, used one-time federal stimulus dollars, and gone deeper into debt. Our projected ongoing revenues are only $6.4 billion, meaning the budget has a structural deficit of $3.6 billion that will plague us in the future until we enact permanent solutions.

Now, we've hit the wall on short-term budget maneuvers and gimmicks. Those options are no longer available. We will have to cut spending or increase taxes or both. There is very little else of substance we can do at this point.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Arizona- Home to the nations two largest canyons

How fitting for Gov. Brewer to speaking about the budget deficit at one of the seven wonders of the world. At the Arizona Town Hall, Brewer took advantage of the scenic landscape to paint a picture not quite as beautiful but definitely as breathtaking. That picture would be the state's continuing budget crisis.

As we all figured would happen, Governor Brewer and legislative leadership are set to call a special session to begin fixing a portion of the $1.75 Billion deficit. It is expected the session will be called for sometime in the next few weeks. We are still a few months away from the next round of problems we face...the 2011 budget. Yes folks, it only gets worse.

At the event, there were two former legislators from California that know a thing or two about bad budgets. Both gave warning to relying on the very gimmicks and tricks that got us through the last session and got us here in the first place. Borrowing and relying too much on one source of revenue is the a recipe for disaster that we have learned the hard way in Arizona. Combine that with spending one time revenue on ongoing programs and you have the AZ budget crisis summed up in a few sentences.

Brulte, the former Republican leader in the CA Senate, said lawmakers need to be clear-eyed as they deal with huge deficits.

"If you paper over this problem, you'll be back here next year," Brulte said. "And in California, we're running out of paper."

I think our paper supply is running short in Arizona too.