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State awaits Brewer’s decision on budget

UPDATE – State employees reported to work and government did not shut down, but Gov. Jan Brewer has not yet announced whether she will sign or veto the budget bills passed by the Legislature.

Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman said around 8:15 a.m. that an announcement would be forthcoming. He would not say what action the governor planned to take on the budget, but said she still stands by her previous statements that any budget that does not include a ballot referral for her temporary sales tax increase proposal would be unacceptable.

If Brewer vetoes the bills it will lead to at least a partial shutdown of state government. The Arizona Department of Administration posted a notice on its Web site at 9:42 a.m. that the governor is reviewing the budget bills, and that all state employees should report to work as scheduled. The Arizona Parks Department, which began asking campers to leave state parks Tuesday afternoon in preparation for a shutdown, said on its Web site that all 28 closed parks would reopen immediately because state employees had been authorized to report for work.

The House of Representatives put the final touches on an $8.4 billion budget shortly before the fiscal year came to an end on Tuesday, followed by the Senate a couple hours later. But the budget bills do not put the temporary one-cent sales tax hike Brewer wants on the November ballot, a provision the governor had said is necessary to avoid drastic cuts to education, healthcare and social services.

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