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Brewer signs environment bill, but no action on rest of budget

Gov. Jan Brewer signed one bill from the budget package the Legislature sent to her desk, but the crucial questions of whether she will sign or veto the rest of the bills have yet to be be answered

Brewer on Aug. 21 signed H2014, which addresses issues at the Parks Department, the Land Department, the Department of Agriculture and other agencies, and provides mechanisms for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to qualify for federal stimulus funds, according to the Governor’s Office. But Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman said the governor will not take action on the rest of the budget package until after the weekend.

Senseman would not say whether Brewer plans to veto the package, which is similar to the budget package she vetoed on July 1 because it did not refer her proposed sales tax increase to the ballot. But he reiterated recent statements from the Governor’s Office that Brewer has made clear to legislators what she finds acceptable in a budget package and what she does not.

“She has not made any determinations,” Senseman told the Arizona Capitol Times. “The governor remains consistent with her belief that the size and scope of this financial crisis will require additional revenues, even on a temporary basis, to bridge this gap that she and the state are forced to deal with, as well as her continued support for future tax reductions that would help stimulate job growth as Arizona finds its way into recovery.”

Senseman said the governor restarted discussions with lawmakers, and that those discussions are likely to continue over the next several days.

The bill Brewer signed makes changes at several agencies, including provisions to increase the funding available to the Arizona State Parks Board for the operation of state parks. It allows the continued use of funds from the State Park Enhancement Fund and Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Funds for agency operating costs, and allows interest earnings from the Land Conservation Fund above $500,000 to be used for the operation of state parks.

It establishes a Trust Management Fund for the Land Department, and allows the department to retain up to 10 percent of fund revenues to manage the land trust. The bill also shifts money between several funds under the authority of the Land Department.

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