It looks like Republican lawmakers are putting a lot of pressure on a few Senate Democrats in hopes that at least one of them can be lured into voting for the budget package.
Likely suspects include Sens. Albert Hale, Manny Alvarez and Richard Miranda. But even less clear is what they would get in return for their support of a budget that so far has been opposed by all Democrats in the Arizona Legislature.
This sort of quid pro quo has become necessary because Republicans have failed to convince a few from their own ranks to buy into specific parts of the package. Some won’t vote for the sales tax referral. Some won’t vote for the tax cuts.
And none of the holdouts seem willing to change their minds. Sen. Carolyn Allen, hampered by a knee injury, has been absent from the Capitol for more than a week. And, after a short phone conversation with reporter Luige del Puerto on Aug. 11, it was clear she remains unmotivated to tip the balance in the Senate.
Sens. Ron Gould and Pamela Gorman aren’t moving either. They won’t vote for the sales tax measure.
Sen. Jim Waring also stands opposed to the sales tax referral, now that it’s been split away from the income tax cuts. He was going to vote in favor of the bill before it was split, but only if he was the deciding 16th vote.
So, as it turns out, splitting several controversial provisions of a budget bill now seems like an exercise in futility. Clearly, it hasn’t produced the numbers needed to pass the package.
All I can say is, what happened to the idea of five-way budget talks with Dems, the GOP and Gov. Jan Brewer? Brewer said she was open to the idea more than a month ago. Democrats have said they wanted that since the beginning.
Not only would that seem to make some sense given the stalemate we’re in, it also might have created at least an illusion of camaraderie in a Legislature that seems to have fractured beyond repair.