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Governor signs budget fixes

By Howard Fischer

Phoenix, AZ – Governor Jan Brewer signed the bills this afternoon to fix
education and health care funding issues. But there's still a long way to go to
balancing the budget.

The measure most notably add back close to $500 million in
funding for K-12 education from what lawmakers had first approved
a week ago -- funding the governor vetoed as unacceptable. Her
press aide, Paul Senseman, said that's a first step. Still
unresolved are her other vetoes which, in combination with the
additional spending, currently leave the state with a $2.1
billion deficit.

(She acknowledges that the budget remains severely in deficit.
And that must be addressed by a combination of spending cuts and
revenue increases.)

Cutting more is not an issue for most of the Republicans who
control the House and Senate. More problematic politically is
Brewer's demand for a temporary 1 cent hike in the state sales
tax rate. Senseman said the governor is willing to consider
alternatives, like a Democratic plan to actually lower the rate
but start taxing things now exempt.

(But she has been very clear, very adamant, that whatever the
solution that's drafted, it needs to be one that can succeed,
first to raise the funds very quickly in the amount of funding
necessary, and if it were to be referred to the voters, which
seems to be the more likely scenario, that it could meet with
their approval.)

And Senseman said Brewer's not convinced that any plan to tax
more items would pass.