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Lawmakers return for budget special session

By Howard Fischer

Phoenix, AZ – State lawmakers are back in special session this afternoon to
deal with last week's vetoes by Governor Jan Brewer of key parts
of the budget.

The first step deals with the decision by the governor to use her
power of line-item veto to eliminate all funding for K-12
education. Brewer said she wants a larger number than the $3.2
billion lawmakers provided. Rep. John Kavanagh said legislators
need to, in his words, undo the damage the governor did to

(I mean, zero funding. Bills are due June 15. And we may be
losing $2 billion of stimulus money. So the first thing is we've
got to get some level of spending in that takes care of the
federal issue and gives schools money.)

Those federal stimulus funds are conditional on Arizona spending
at least as much on education this fiscal year as it did last
year. And, obviously, the current figure of zero doesn't do it.
Longer term, lawmakers have to decide whether to accede to
Brewer's demand to ask voters to approve a temporary hike in the
state sales tax. Sen. Russell Pearce said voters don't want
higher taxes.

(And if that message needs to be gotten to these spenders and the
governor, reduce the budget. We ought to be protecting the
taxpayer from too much government, not protecting the government
by plundering the taxpayer.)

And Pearce said even if he votes to put the issue on the November
ballot he will lead the campaign to convince voters to kill it --
and force Brewer to accept less spending.