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Proposed sales tax hike blocks budget deal (access required)

With the clock ticking, lawmakers and the governor held a series of closed-door meetings leading up to the Sept. 5 deadline for action on a slate of budget bills. But the negotiations did not produce the outcome Gov. Jan Brewer had desired - a bipartisan coalition of support for a special election to temporarily raise the sales tax to help balance the budget.

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Budget on life support again as sales tax fails

***UPDATED AT 8:45 P.M.*** After about seven months of trying, Republican leaders arrived at the Capitol on Aug. 12 with hopes that they had finally corralled enough votes in the Senate, including the support of a Democrat, to pass a budget for fiscal year 2010. But all that evaporated when a senator whose support Republicans were counting on was absent from the floor.

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Dem leader says bipartisan budget talks will be ‘painful’ (access required)

The overwhelming display of bipartisanship that kicked off the special legislative session when it convened July 6 may be a precursor of how lawmakers will work to patch the $2.5 billion hole in the budget, but to what extent Republicans and Democrats work together likely won't be known until later this month.

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