Talks on the budget may be on the verge of breaking down, as Gov. Jan Brewer today told Republican legislative leaders that she will not sign any more bills until the budget is done.
“The governor has indicated to leadership that, outside of the bills that are on her desk now, she won’t sign any more bills until there’s a budget,” Brewer spokesman Matthew Benson said.
Benson said the governor delivered the message to Senate President Steve Pierce and House Speaker Andy Tobin in a meeting this morning.
Messages left with Pierce, Tobin and their top aides were not immediately returned.
But Senate Majority Leader Andy Biggs said he would prefer that lawmakers continue voting on bills.
“I would advocate that we still send her bills. It’s our job,” he said
Republican lawmakers and Brewer have been at loggerheads over a budget deal all session. The governor called for increased spending in education and some social programs, but Republicans have said she wants to spend too much money.
Instead, they introduced a spending package that socks away nearly $500 million for use in 2014, when the temporary one-cent sales tax increase that Brewer championed expires and the state is force to increase its public health care rolls under the federal health care reform law.
That spending plan was approved by legislative budget committees in February, but has yet to advance to the floor in either the House or Senate while legislative Republicans and the Governor’s Office attempted to negotiate a compromise.
Benson reiterated Brewer’s commitment to the budget proposal she released in January and said the plan backed by Republican legislators doesn’t pass muster.
“The governor stands wholeheartedly behind her budget proposal and isn’t going to sign any budget that short-changes Arizona’s ability to compete in the future or breaks her oath with voters on Prop 100,” said Brewer spokesman Matthew Benson.