Arizona budget could be catastrophe - Tucson News Now

Arizona budget could be catastrophe

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By Bud Foster - email

"Well you know I never give up," says Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.

That's her response to the question "when do you give up on the 1 cent sales tax and move on."

The governor has taken her budget battle on the road. She was in Prescott on Monday and Tucson on Wednesday talking to audiences about the severity of the state finances and why a budget resolution needs to be reached.

"If we don't get additional revenue in 2011, it will be a disaster. 2012 will be a major catastrophe," Brewer told the Tucson Rotary Club.

The governor hopes that additional revenue will come with the one cent sales tax increase. She wants to put it before the voters in the November general election.

But her hope has so far been dashed by state lawmakers, including members of her own party who will not vote for a new tax and won't even support a ballot measure.

That's put the state budget in a position where its never been before.

She's called a special legislative session hoping lawmakers can carve out something she can sign her name to and end this impasse.

But it's not likely.

"I'd like to get something in the next two weeks," she says. And she hopes to have an agreement for a ballot measure by the end of the month.

The budget hole continues to get deeper. It's up to $3.4 billion now and increasing all the time. The governor herself added $700 million with her vetoes earlier in the week. But she says it was not her choice.  It was the way the lawmaker's packaged the budget deal which made it unacceptable.

Even though California is getting most of the national attention over its budget battles, Brewer feels Arizona is worse off.

"Arizona is worse than California per capita. That is how awful it truly is here," she told the group.

And she adds, it's getting worse day by day.


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