Friday, June 5, 2009

The State Budget: What's Next?

Posted By on Fri, Jun 5, 2009 at 2:32 PM

Republicans cobbled together enough votes to pass a budget this week, but they're sitting on it rather than transmitting it to Gov. Jan Brewer, who isn't happy with the spending plan.

We're still unpacking the GOP budget, but it contains deep cuts, lots of debt and bad policy. We'll share tidbits in the days ahead.

So what's next? Republicans—who are already short-tempered since learning that Brewer was planning to run public-relations campaigns in their districts to support her version of the budget—are negotiating with the governor, but they don't want any part of one of her key proposals: a temporary hike in the sales tax.

Here's something they may offer her: A commission with the power to refer a tax increase to the voters. That way, lawmakers are one more step away from raising taxes. At the same time, Brewer gets to put together whatever kind of tax reform she wants, without interference from lawmakers on either side of the aisle, as long as she can control the makeup of the commission.

So the GOP budget, with Brewer's changes, would become law, and then Brewer could offer up an alternative for voters to approve in November if they are unhappy with the results.

Keep in mind: We all saw how well asking voters for more money worked in California ...

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