Fun with Budget Negotiations

The latest gambit in Governor Brewer’s increasingly strained negotiations with the Legislature is a lawsuit she intends to file today forcing the Legislature to send her the recently passed budget that she will presumably veto in an attempt to start the process over with less than three weeks to go.  

The Governor has backed off on her insistence that the FY’10 budget include a tax increase and is now calling for legislation to put the tax increase on the ballot at some time in the future.  I suppose that’s a logical negotiating position on her part – “I’ll give you a no tax increase budget for FY’10, if you give me the tax increase vote in return.”

One problem.  

How does it pass the Legislature?

In theory, you have two somewhat realistic options to pass it in both chambers.  

First, you convince Republican legislators that this isn’t really a tax increase, just a vote to give voters a choice.  You then hope that the desire to finish this marathon legislative session outweighs the reluctance to vote for the tax increase.  Odds of this happening – probably slim and none.  

Second, you try and convince Democrats to provide a large majority of the votes and then try to pick off and/or buy Republican votes to get yourself a majority.  Odds of this happening – slightly better, but it would fly in the face of strong Democrat opposition to the sales tax and their desire for something with a little more, shall we say, oomph in the tax department.  It also assumes that there are enough Republican yes votes, something that is by no means guaranteed.  

This is probably why the Governor wants the budget bills.  Vetoing them serves her purposes in both scenarios.  In scenario one, she can increase the desperation about passing a budget by vetoing these bills.  If these ones are off the table, she apparently believes she is in a stronger negotiating position as the fiscal year nears an end and Legislators come under increased pressure to strike a deal.  

In the second scenario, she is in better position to buy both Republican and Democrat votes for her tax increase if she can play a big role in the crafting of a new budget.  

Fun stuff.  Aren’t you glad you’re not a Legislator?


  1. kralmajales says

    The fun part of this is that you all now control the House, Senate, and Governor office. You have the power to make the budget and anything else you want. What you have done, people do not like. And worse, you can’t even get the job done with entire control over the government. THIS is what people will remember in the next election. There is no way that any of this can be blamed on the Democrats…certainly not the GOP “plan” to fix this, which has shut Democrats completely out of the process.

    So you have the power…lets see what if anything you can do about it.

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