Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

August 26, 2009


Host: Ted Simons

Legislative Update


  • Arizona Capitol Times reporter Jim Small provides an update on the state budget after lawmakers adjourned the special session, sine die. It’s a move that gives the Governor 10 days to consider signing the budget that’s nearly identical to one she previously vetoed.
Guests:
  • Jim Small - Arizona Capitol Times
Category: Legislature

View Transcript
Ted Simons: GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO "HORIZON." I'M TED SIMONS. STATE LAWMAKERS ENDED THEIR SPECIAL SESSION YESTERDAY TO GIVE GOVERNOR BREWER MORE TIME TO CONSIDER WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE BUDGET. HERE TO BRING US UP TO DATE IS ARIZONA CAPITOL TIMES REPORTER JIM SMALL. JIM, GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE. THANKS FOR JOINING US.

Jim Small: YEAH, THANKS FOR HAVING ME BACK.

Ted Simons: THE SPECIAL SESSION ADJOURNS, SINE DIE YESTERDAY. SURPRISED AT ALL?

Jim Small: A LITTLE BIT. THERE WAS TALK WHERE THE LEGISLATURE WAS GOING TO GO THIS ROUTE OR WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN. PEOPLE WERE TALKING ON MONDAY AND TUESDAY MORNING JUST SAW THE DIFFERENT OPTIONS. WHEN LAWMAKERS AND EVERYONE STARTED TO GATHER FOR THE SPECIAL SESSION YESTERDAY AFTERNOON, IT BECAME QUICKLY APPARENT THEY WERE GOING TO SINE DIE. LEGISLATIVE LEADERSHIP SAID YEAH, WE'RE GOING TO DO THIS. THEY WENT AHEAD AND DID IT. THE BILLS HAVE BEEN ON GOVERNOR BREWER'S DESK. THEY GOT SENT UP LAST WEEK, LAST THURSDAY I BELIEVE. SHE HAD UNTIL WEDNESDAY, TONIGHT, IN FACT, UNTIL MIDNIGHT TO ACT ON THEM. BY THEM SINE DIE IN THE SPECIAL SESSION, THE CONSTITUTION SAYS YOU HAVE TEN DAYS AND YOU'RE OUT OF SESSION. THAT CLOCK RESTARTS AND SHE ACTUALLY HAS UNTIL SEPTEMBER 5th, THE SATURDAY OF LABOR DAY WEEKEND TO DECIDE WHAT SHE WANTS TO DO ON THE BILLS.

Ted Simons: SO SHE HAS TEN EXTRA DAYS TO WORK ON IT AND LAWMAKERS HAVE TEN DAYS AS WELL TO FIGURE OUT IF THEY CAN WRANGLE UP THE LAST VOTE, CORRECT?

Jim Small: YEAH. THAT SEEMS TO BE ONE OF THE REASONS TO DECIDE TO DO THIS, TO BUY SOME TIME TO HAVE ONE FINAL LAST-DITCH EFFORT TO EITHER CAJOLE A REPUBLICAN, TO TWIST AN ARM, TO GET SOMEBODY ON BOARD THIS SALES TAX REFERRAL OR INCOME TAX PACKAGE OR TO SWEETEN THE POT FOR DEMOCRATS. IN THAT VEIN, THEY STARTED MEETING, HAVING FIVE-PARTY TALKS. REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP, THE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP AND GOVERNOR HAVE BEEN WORKING TOGETHER TO TRY TO WORK OUT A DEAL.

Ted Simons: LET'S TALK ABOUT THE BIPARTISAN TALKS. REALLY SOMETHING GOING ON HERE? ARE THESE NEGOTIATIONS? ARE THEY TALKS? ARE THEY MEETINGS? ARE THEY HI, HOW ARE YOUS? WHAT ARE THEY?

Jim Small: I THINK THEY'RE SOMEWHERE BETWEEN TALKS AND NEGOTIATIONS HI, HOW ARE YOU DOING. CERTAINLY MAY NOT CALL THEM NEGOTIATIONS, BASED ON WHAT'S BEEN TOLD TO THE REPORTER. HE SAID THE DEMOCRATS OFFER GIVEN YESTERDAY MORNING IS NOT IN THE SAME BALLPARK AS WHAT’S ALREADY ON THE TABLE. HE SAID IT WASN'T A SERIOUS OFFER. DEMOCRATS COUNTERED WITH THE FACT THAT IT IS A SERIOUS OFFER. THEY MADE CONCESSIONS FROM WHERE THEY WERE BEFORE BUT THE REPUBLICANS NEED TO BE WILLING TO COMPROMISE. THEY CAN'T EXPECT THE DEMOCRATS TO FALL IN LINE.

Ted Simons: HOW OFTEN HAVE THEY BEEN MEETING? DOES IT SOUND LIKE THEY WILL CONTINUE TO MEET?

Jim Small: THEY MET LAST FRIDAY MORNING FOR THE FIRST TIME. THEY MET EARLY YESTERDAY A COUPLE OF TIMES IN THE MORNING AND THEN IN THE AFTERNOON. THE NEXT SCHEDULED MEETING IS TOMORROW AFTERNOON. YOU KNOW, EXACTLY HOW THIS GOES I THINK REALLY DEPENDS ON WHAT KIND OF CONCESSIONS BOTH SIDES ARE WILLING TO MAKE. DEMOCRATS HAVE BEEN THE ONES MAKING OFFERS TO THIS POINT. THEY'RE NOT REALLY CLEAR. THEY'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT THE DETAILS. EVERYBODY IS KEEPING MUM ON THAT. HOUSE MINORITY LEADER DID SAY ONE OF THE MAIN COMPONENTS OF THEIR PROPOSAL IS TO LET THAT PROPERTY EQUALIZATION TAX, THE STATEWIDE PROPERTY TAX COME BACK ON THE BOOKS. USE THAT MONEY TO RESTORE SOME OF THE CUTS LAWMAKERS HAVE ALREADY APPROVED. I DON'T KNOW IF THAT WILL WORK. THAT'S ONE OF THE ISSUES THAT'VE DIED ON THE HILL AND FOUGHT FOR. LAST YEAR, THEY SENT THE BILL UP TO FORMER GOVERNOR NAPOLITANO. I DON'T KNOW THEY'RE WILL TO GIVE THAT UP.

Ted Simons: SPEAKING OF THAT, IS THERE A THOUGHT THAT IF PERHAPS THE GOVERNOR GOES AHEAD AND SIGNS SOME OF THE BUDGET BUT EQUALIZATION RATE SHE GOES AHEAD AND VETOES SO THAT SHE HAS A BIT OF NEGOTIATION TO GO AND CAN GET PARTIES BACK AT THE TABLE AGAIN, ESPECIALLY REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP, IS THAT A POSSIBILITY?

Jim Small: THAT IS ABSOLUTELY A POSSIBILITY. IF YOU ASK PEOPLE DOWN AT THE CAPITOL TO GIVE THEIR PROGNOSTICATION ABOUT WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN, YOU'RE GOING TO HEAR EVERYTHING FROM SIGN THE ENTIRE BUDGET, TO VETO THE ENTIRE THING TO THINGS IN THE MIDDLE, MAYBE SHE'LL VETO SOME THINGS AND SIGN OTHER THINGS INTO LAW. I THINK THE PEOPLE WHO THINK SHE'S GOING TO VETO SOMETHING, I THINK A LOT OF THEM THINK IT WILL BE THE PROPERTY EQUALIZATION TAX BECAUSE IT'S THE BIGGEST LEVERAGE SHE HAS AGAINST REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS TO GET THE SUPPORT FROM THEM TO PUT THAT SALES TAX THING ON THE BALLOT.

Ted Simons: SHE VETOES THAT, THOUGH, THAT'S GOING TO HURT HER POLITICALLY, IS IT NOT? THAT'S A TOUGH SELL IF SHE DECIDES TO RUN FOR GOVERNOR.

Jim Small: I THINK YOU COULD EASILY MAKE THE ARGUMENT THAT THE ENTIRE PROCESS UP TO THIS POINT HAS BEEN CERTAINLY NOT BEEN HELPFUL POLITICALLY. WE'VE SEEN, YOU KNOW, NO END OF THE POLITICAL IN FIGHTING AS THE REPUBLICAN LEADERS. MY GOODNESS, WE HAD SENATOR BOB BURNS SAYING GOVERNOR BREWER WASN'T CAPABLE OF DOING THE JOB. THAT WAS TWO MONTHS AGO. YOU HAD A LOT OF FALLOUT FROM THE WAY THIS ENTIRE PROCESS HAS BEEN RUN. TO THIS POINT, SHE'S SHOWN THAT SHE'S VERY COMMITTED TODAY THE SALES TAX BALLOT REFERRAL. I DON'T KNOW AT WHAT POINT THEY DECIDE TO WAVE THE WHITE FLAG ON IT AND SAY, OKAY, WE QUIT. WE GIVE UP. WE FAILED.

Ted Simons: I WAS GOING TO SAY. IT SEEMS AS THOUGH SHE HAS A LOT OF OPTIONS, BUT MANY OF THEM INVOLVE BRINGING THESE FOLKS BACK YET AGAIN FOR ANOTHER SPECIAL SESSION AND HAVE THEM ADDRESS THE SALES TAX HIKE, TEMPORARY SALES TAX HIKE SEPARATELY FROM EVERYTHING ELSE. AGAIN, A POSSIBILITY?

Jim Small: ABSOLUTELY. THAT IS CERTAINLY WHAT REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP IS PUSHING FOR DOWN AT THE CAPITOL. THEY WANT HER TO SIGN THE BUDGET WITH THE PROMISE THEY'RE GOING TO COME BACK AND WORK ON IT. IF THAT MEANS SHE HAS TO CALL THEM TO SPECIAL SESSION, SO BE IT. THEY'LL DO. I THINK MOST PEOPLE DOWN THERE EXPECT THERE TO BE A SPECIAL SESSION ONE WAY OR ANOTHER IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS. IF THERE'S NOT FOR WHATEVER REASON, I THINK MOST PEOPLE WOULD ALSO AGREE THAT THERE'S GOING TO BE A SPECIAL SESSION BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR JUST TO FIX THE BUDGET CURRENTLY ON HER DESK. IT LOOKS LIKE THE EARLY REVENUE NUMBERS ARE COMING IN LOWER THAN EXPECTED. THAT MEANS THERE'S GOING TO BE A COUPLE OF HOLES TO PATCH.

Ted Simons: LAST QUESTION. ON THE BIPARTISAN TALKS. ARE LAWMAKERS IN GENERAL, NOT NECESSARILY LEADERSHIP, BUT THE FOLKS STILL HANGING OUT DOWN THERE, ARE THEY OPTIMISTIC SOMETHING CAN COME OF THESE BIPARTISAN TALKS?

Jim Small: IT DEPENDS ON WHO YOU'RE TALKING TO. IT'S KIND OF A MIXED BAG ON THAT. I THINK SOME PEOPLE ARE REALLY HOPEFUL THIS WILL WORK OUT. DEMOCRATS I THINK ARE HAPPY TO JUST FINALLY BE AT THE TABLE WITH SOME MEANINGFUL DISCUSSIONS WITH THE GOVERNOR. THEY'VE HAD THEM WITH REPUBLICAN LEADERS AND THOSE DIDN'T WORK OUT WELL. ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE OF THE AISLE, I THINK MOST PEOPLE ARE KIND OF HOPING FOR HER TO JUST SIGN THIS THING AND WE'LL GO WORK ON THE TAX PROVISION LATER AND WE CAN COME BACK AND DEAL WITH THAT IN A MONTH.

Ted Simons: ALL RIGHT. VERY GOOD, JIM. THANKS FOR JOINING US.

Jim Small: THANK YOU.

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