A profile in courage? Nope.
I’m talking about my Governor, Jan Brewer.
If you don’t live in Arizona you probably think that Governor Brewer is a hero for her signature on SB1070 last year. Occasionally we see things written praising her and I’ve even seen a couple of misguided commenters who though she’d be a good VP candidate. Ummm, no.
A quick snapshot of history before we get to today. Jan Brewer was elevated to the Governor’s job in Arizona when President Obama nominated Janet Napolitano to head DHS. Brewer was Secretary of State and AZ has no LtGov, the SoS is next in line. Let me note that succession is a huge problem for us. In the last 30 years, we’ve had three Governors leave office and be replaced by the SoS. It’s been less that a good thing in all three instances.
Brewer’s first act upon becoming Governor was to have to put together a new budget. Arizona has the second biggest budget shortfall problem in the US behind California, as a percentage of total budget. We also have a requirement that the Governor sign a balanced budget. So, Brewer submitted a budget that relied on a sales tax increase (temporary, 3 years) for about a billion dollars, one-time federal funds for another billion and some token budget cuts. We wouldn’t have gotten the token budget cuts if a group of Republican freshman legislators hadn’t stood up and said NO! The sales tax revenues have fallen short – color me shocked – and the fed funds are gone, never to be seen again.
The budget fiasco of 2009 hurt Brewer. In January of last year there were three primary challengers announced to run against her and her favorable numbers wiere in the 20s. And along came SB1070. The immigration enforcement bill was very controversial as it made it’s way through the legislature. Brewer had no input into the bill, made no statements about the bill as it made it’s way through the legislative process, and after the bill was presented for her signature, she still said nothing. On the final day, she called a press conference and signed the bill. Until the moment she put pen to paper no one knew what she would do. I will give her some credit, in the aftermath, she read her lines well enough to be perceived as a conservative and as an effective executive. The budget fiasco was forgotten.
Until now. It’s budget time again and Brewer’s big government instincts are back. She presented a “balanced budget” to the legislature, but the only reason it’s balanced is borrowing in excess of $500MM. Once again, it’s the legislature to the rescue as outlined in the Arizona Republic story.
Republican lawmakers are working on a plan to cut up to 60 percent more in spending from next year’s budget than the $1 billion Gov. Jan Brewer has proposed.
The plan is being discussed in closed-door sessions and has not yet been aired publicly. But lawmakers say they are aiming for $600 million or more in cuts from the budget for fiscal 2012 so the state won’t have to borrow more to pay its bills.
Weary of an ever-increasing debt load, they want permanent cuts that will erase the state’s structural deficit, caused by spending in excess of revenue, rather than papering over the problem with accounting gimmicks.
- Jan Brewer Medicaid Cuts May Slam Hospitals As Patients Lose Funding (huffingtonpost.com)
- AZ Gov. Jan Brewer: Government Is A “Necessary Evil” (crooksandliars.com)
- OK Jan Brewer, time to put up… (908straightst.wordpress.com)