The Arizona State Senate approved a bloated, debt laden budget early Thursday morning. The budget includes massive amounts of new debt financed by increased sales of lottery tickets, the crack cocaine of budgeting. We would like to salute Senators Gould and Harper for a valiant effort to save the citizens of the state from years of debt payments plus interest. They do not make it easy to understand but it looks like the senate version was a collection of 7 bills, HB 2209, 2210, 2211, 2275, 2278, 2391, and 2462. A quick look reveals that all Democrats voted for the bill along with Republican Senators Carolyn Allen, Tom O’Halleran, Jay Tibshraeny, and Tim Bee. Allen may be safe in LD 8 this vote could have an impact in LD 1, where conservative Steve Pierce is challenging O’Halleran, and in CD 8, where Tim Bee is challenging incumbent Gabrielle Giffords. Giffords just voted FOR the FISA bill and may now pin a huge budget mess on Bee. She will need to spend her 1 million dollar war chest on something.
The bills now head to the house. Sources on that side of the capital almost sounded resigned to passage. The Democrats have 27 votes plus Pete Hershberger and Jennifer Burns. Burns is not running again and could easily vote for the senate version. Hershberger is in the race of his political career and will give more ammunition to Melvin if he votes for the senate monstrosity. One more Republican cross over and the package goes to the governor. Now might be a good time to contact your representative. That or buy a lottery ticket, a lot of them!