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Governor Brewer prepares for budget speech

By Howard Fischer

Phoenix, AZ – Jan Brewer has been saying for more than a month that everything
is on the table as the state figures out how to balance the
budget. Later today she gets to spell out exactly what is on her menu.

Brewer didn't really participate in the negotiations that came up
with the $1.6 billion fix to this year's budget in January as she
had been in office less than two weeks. Now the state faces $3
billion deficit for next fiscal year. Brewer is set to address a
special joint session of the Legislature late this afternoon on
the problem. Senate President Bob Burns said it's time for her to

"I'd like to see a little more direction on where she wants to go
with the budget. We've got a very general block diagram of what
she sees as the challenge, the problem, however you want to state
it. But we need to get a lot more into the details in that."

Brewer is likely to say further spending reductions are
necessary, even with federal stimulus cash. Less clear is whether
the governor will suggest to lawmakers they have an alternative
to deeper cuts: Ask voters for a temporary one-cent sales tax
hike. Sen. Ron Gould said that's no option at all for him.

"Why is it that government's more important than everything other
than government, that we should take more money from the taxpayer
and put him in even more dire straits. Why does government rate a
higher level than the real world where people have to make a
choice of what they do with their money?"