Gov. Jan Brewer lashed out Friday at legislators from her own Republican Party for trying to fix the state's budget problems by taking $190 million from cities and counties.
"I think it's irresponsible," Brewer said of the proposals.
Legislation approved this past week by the Senate Appropriations Committee would require counties to give $106 million of their share of vehicle license taxes to local school districts. That reduces the state's obligation to fund schools by an identical amount.
Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, said he understands that the cash will mean hardships for cities and counties.
But Pearce, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, said this isn't like the state is taking dollars the local governments have collected themselves.
"The truth is, it's a state license," he said. And while the state has been able to share that revenue in the past, Pearce said it has to cut back because of a deficit for the coming budget year that is likely to exceed $3 billion.
Perhaps in this particular situation (vehicle license fees), the funds aren't "dollars that the local governments have collected themselves" but the hundreds of millions of dollars in development fees that the lege is swiping from cities and towns *are* dollars that the local governments have collected themselves.
Pretending that the lege is only
The bottom line is that Pearce and his "associates" in the Rep caucus of the lege are deliberately visiting fiscal devastation upon every governmental and public entitity that they can put the touch on, other than the ones the control directly - the offices of the governor, treasurer, state superintendent of public education, secretary of state, and, of course, the lege itself.
Next year, every one of them must face a general election challenge from Democrats, and every one of them should face a primary challenge from Republicans who are disillusioned by complete disdain for public service exhibited by their current crop of elected officials.