The verbal tussle between Gov. Jan Brewer and Senate President Bob Burns does not appear to have abated, even with a lull in activity at the Legislature.
In a statement July 10, Burns said it is “not helpful to sling recklessly exaggerated uses of words like ‘devastating’ or ‘decimated’ when referring to education funding.
“As a case in point, no budget voted out of the Legislature this year reduced K-12 funding by more than 2.2% of its total funds,” he said.
Although Burns did not say he was reacting to any particular remark by the governor, Brewer had said Democrats and Republicans united to “fulfill (her) number one priority — preventing education from being decimated by massive cuts” when she signed the July 6 budget measures, one of which restored funding to education and added about $400 million to schools.
More than a week into the new fiscal year, the state’s financial condition appears to be no better than when policymakers began work in January to solve one of the worst budget deficits in the nation. On a positive note, the government did not shut down, and a stop-gap budget is in place. Meanwhile, bipartisan talks on the budget are underway.
“The debate will continue as to whether the governor’s actions were rash or rational, but what is not in doubt is the size of the deficit,” Burns said, referring to Brewer’s earlier vetoes.
With the enactment of four budget bills that were passed on July 6 and the governors’ veto of most of the budget approved by the Legislature on July 1, the current state budget is unbalanced by about $2.5 billion.