A top-ranking Democrat says Gov. Jan Brewer is planning to shut down state government if a budget deal can’t be reached with legislative Republicans.
House Minority Leader David Lujan said on June 11 that Brewer had made the remarks to him during a meeting the day before.
“She said Republicans have been stubborn and she can be just as stubborn, and she will shut down state government if she has to,” Lujan said.
Brewer and Republican lawmakers are wrangling over a budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1. If a budget isn’t in place by then, state government may have to suspend operations.
The main point of contention between the two sides has been Brewer’s insistence that a temporary sales tax increase be included in the budget. GOP lawmakers, meanwhile, approved a budget earlier this month that bridged a $3.2 billion deficit with no tax increase.
Lujan and other Democratic leaders have been calling on Brewer to summon representatives from all four legislative caucuses to negotiate the budget, but she has not done so.
Lujan said Brewer acknowledged in the June 10 that she would need Democratic support on the budget, but was unwilling to negotiate with them.
“She says she needs our votes, she says she wants to shut government down, but she’s not willing to include us in negotiations,” he said. “It’s puzzling.”
Despite the threats that government may shut down temporarily, Lujan said he and other Democrats are standing firm in their demand to be included in talks before supporting any budget.
“If she wants our votes, she’s going to have to include us,” he said. “We won’t vote for a budget it we’re not part of the process.”