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End of GOP budget fight? Seriously? (access required)

For the first time in at least six years, the annual release of budget plans by the Arizona Legislature and the governor didn't result in bickering. Of course, it helps that the legislative Republican majority didn't put out anything even closely resembling a budget plan this year.

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Brewer budget plan a tenuous proposition     (access required)

Gov. Jan Brewer's budget plan is structured much like a game of Jenga. Pull out one piece, and the entire pile of blocks could come crashing down. The plan, released Jan. 15, would balance the budget using a variety of maneuvers to reduce costs and raise new revenue. But some of the ideas rely on future events that are out of the governor's control.

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Lawmakers’ first duty: Show up and vote (access required)

Here’s the simple mathematics of representative government: Arizona taxpayers pay for lawmakers to show up and vote on every bill in the Legislature. Now here’s the flaw in that equation: Lawmakers get paid whether they show up or not. Unfortunately, many Arizona residents were underrepresented at the Capitol during last year’s regular legislative session.

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Capitol Quotes 1/1/10 (access required)

"I keep thinking, Oh, my gosh! The time before we have to go back there is getting less and less!" - Sen. Linda Lopez, a Democrat from Tucson, on the approaching regular session. Lawmakers return to the Capitol Jan. 11 for the 2010 session.

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Sale of state prisons running into wall of opposition (access required)

When lawmakers chose April Fool’s Day as the deadline to submit a plan to privatize the state’s prison system, they unwittingly telegraphed just how dubious the plan was. First, the whole idea of putting state prisons under private control was a difficult sell to the public. Then there was a question about how many of the state’s 10 prisons to auction off.

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