Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Budget games ramping up...

...And "games" may be the key word here...

As reported by AZBlueMeanie at Blog for Arizona and elsewhere, the Republicans in the lege have begun the public pas de deux with the Governor over the state's budget (and both sides are hoping that they don't have to ask the legislative Democrats for a spin around the dance floor).

The House Rules Committee met this morning to rubberstamp the House Republicans' budget proposal, and Senate Rules is scheduled to meet at 5 p.m. to do the same for the Senate Reps' proposal.

Now, so far the Governor and the Reps in the lege seem to be in disagreement, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was all a lot of posturing - the Governor's budget proposal is harsh enough toward public education and public services to suit most of the Rep base in AZ, and it is just different enough from the legislative proposals to be sold to a disgusted-with-the-whole-thing public as a "compromise."

My primary reason for suspecting that the "conflict" between the governor and her ideological colleagues in the lege may be a put-up job?

Neither side's budget proposals contain cuts for either the Governor's office or for legislative operations.

Everybody else - teachers, students, poor and working class families, the Democrat-held Attorney General's office, government employees, and more - takes a major hit, but not "Our Gang."

Free prediction: There will be loud words exchanged, and possibly a vetoed budget, leading up to a last-minute (as in just before a government shutdown) compromise to "save the day" with all of them up on a stage somewhere patting each other on the back in front of some TV cameras.

Free prediction2: The script for next year may contain different lines of dialogue, but the basic plot will be the same.



Thane Eichenauer said...

There are only a fixed number of variables:

1) Spend more/less
2) Tax more/less
3) Change tax sharing between departments of government - state/school district/city/county
4) Change service burdens between departments of government

There are no other variables.

cpmaz said...

And? You are right, but those variables are so broad that they cover everything.

More importantly, what does that have to do with the games that the lege and governor are playing?

They're with you on the "spend less" part; but so are the Democrats. The argument there is over how much less.

They're with you on the "tax less" part. The Democrats less so, but even they understand that tax hikes alone won't clean up the mess.

As for points 3 and 4, I'm not sure where you stand, but the Reps wholeheartedly support changing tax sharing and service burdens - sweeping or retaining more revenue for the state and shifting responsibilities away from the state government, forcing the other entities in the state that have the ability to raise taxes to do so.

And to be the ones to take the political hit for it.

Even the Democrats aren't perfect here - their budget proposal includes some similar provisions, though with a much milder impact.