Governor urges collaboration on budget solution

Economic recovery for Arizona hinges on acting quickly and working cooperatively, Gov. Jan Brewer told a gathering of Flagstaff community leaders on Tuesday at Northern Arizona University.

Jan Brewer
Governor Jan Brewer chats with Deborah Harris, associate dean of Student Life, and Sara Aleman, director of Ethnic Studies.

Citing a projected $3 billion deficit in fiscal year 2010, Brewer said, “There is no improvement in sight until 2012 at the earliest. If we continue down this path, by 2014 Arizona will have accumulated a budget deficit of $13 billion.”

The governor noted, “If we don’t do it now, we won’t get Arizona turned around. We are facing a catastrophe. We have to do it together and join hands.”

Ernest Calderón, vice president of the Arizona Board of Regents, told Brewer, “Governor, you have our word (of the regents and three universities) that we will continue to cooperate with you.

“If Jan Brewer doesn’t succeed as governor, everybody in this room, your children and your grandchildren will fail,” Calderón told the audience of about 100. “The trump card she has in her pocket is you.”

The governor shared her five-point plan to resolve the current fiscal crisis, which includes:

  • Reforming the budget process by increasing the size and restricting the use of the “Rainy Day” fund; limiting fund sweeps; and using reliable revenue estimates
  • Providing fiscal flexibility with Proposition 105—the Voter Protection Act
  • Further spending cuts to reduce the general fund by $1 billion
  • Providing tax reform to attract business and create jobs
  • Instituting a temporary tax increase to generate $1 billion annually

The temporary tax increase is necessary to preserve education, public safety and public health, Brewer said.

“Education,” she added, “is one of the most important things the government should provide and has provided to the people of Arizona.”