It sounds as though we might finally see some action on the budget. But, then again, that might just be what they want us to think.
If I sound paranoid, it’s only because I’m delirious after seven months of budget yammering.
Anyway, my point is this: With GOP lawmakers working toward dueling deals with Democrats and Governor Jan Brewer, both sides might feel a bit more pressure to capitulate. If Republican lawmakers can’t get what they want from the Democratic minority, then they can fall back and work out something with the governor – or vice versa.
It seems like simple strategy. Work one against the other. If not for the political consequences of going to Democrats earlier on, this tactic might have played out months earlier. How would it have looked, after all, if Republicans, with a solid majority in the Legislature and a Republican on the Ninth Floor, had gone willingly to Democrats in, say, April?
Plus, Republicans may actually have thought they could string something together among themselves in the final days of the regular session, a magical time that sometimes turns idealists into pragmatists. Perhaps their rank-and-file would relent and agree to a sales tax referral, or maybe Brewer would buckle and let the whole thing slide.
But neither of those things happened, and here we are 27 days into the fiscal year without a budget. We’re one of only a few states still stuck in this purgatory.
Some lawmakers have said a deal is near and an agreement might be struck within a week or so. But which deal? The one with Democrats, or the one with Brewer? Actually, it may serve GOP leaders well to give the impression that they’re about to close the deal on both ends.
In any case, it wouldn’t be the first time that everyone was fooled into thinking a budget agreement was in hand. I, for one, started holding my breath on June 30.