Ariz. gov vetoes school funding to force increase

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PHOENIX -- Gov. Jan Brewer is keeping state government running by signing most of the main spending bill in a budget approved by the Legislature early on Wednesday. But she's also using a line-item veto to reject the budget's funding for K-12 schools as inadequate.

Brewer looking it over

Tardy Arizona Legislature approves budget bills - The Arizona Legislature has completed action on budget bills to implement most of a compromise $8.4 billion budget negotiated with Gov. Jan Brewer. However, lawmakers omitted a sales tax increase that Brewer wants to help reduce spending cuts.

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The Legislature adjourned its 2009 regular session at approximately 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. Brewer announced just hours later that she is calling lawmakers back for a special session starting Monday to increase school funding.

Brewer also is vetoing some of the budget package's bills and using her line-item veto authority on dozens of lines of spending.

The governor's office says the school system has enough money to get by temporarily under the budget is revised.

Ariz. state workers to report to work as scheduled

PHOENIX -- Gov. Jan Brewer's administration is telling state workers to report to work as scheduled though the governor has not yet acted on budget bills approved by the Legislature overnight.

The lack of an approved budget before Wednesday raised concerns about a possible state government shutdown.

The new fiscal year began at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday but the Legislature did not finish approving the budget bills until shortly before 3 a.m.

Lawmakers then delayed sending of the budgets so they would go to Brewer with nearly all other legislation approved by lawmakers during their 2009 session.

A notice posted on the Department of Administration's Web site says Brewer "is anxiously awaiting the budget bills" and that she "will act to continue state operations."

The Arizona Legislature completed action on budget bills to implement most of a compromise $8.4 billion budget negotiated with Gov. Jan Brewer. However, lawmakers omitted a sales tax increase that Brewer wants to help reduce spending cuts.

The Senate approved the bills early Wednesday morning, about three hours after the House's action just before midnight Tuesday.

Lawmakers missed the Arizona Constitution's deadline of midnight for approval of a new state budget.

The bill's ultimate fate remains in question as it is now up to Brewer to decide whether to sign or veto them.

Spokesman Paul Senseman won't say what Brewer will do, but he says Brewer still wants the sales-tax measure.

Ariz. Senate doors locked to keep vetoes out

The Arizona Senate's front doors were briefly locked Wednesday morning at the order of a majority staff official who indicated the move was intended to prevent Gov. Jan Brewer's office from delivering vetoes of legislation.

Lobbyists trying to leave through those doors at about 7 a.m. after watching part of a floor session were told to exit through a rear entrance.

Explaining the locked doors, Senate General Counsel Greg Jernigan said "we prefer not to get veto letters this morning."

At the time, lawmakers were trying to end their annual session and faced the possibility that Gov. Jan Brewer could veto parts of a budget package approved overnight and sent to here Wednesday morning.

The doors were unlocked a short time later. Senate Chief of Staff Wendy Baldo expressed irritation at the situation but declined to comment.

Ariz. Legislature ends session dominated by budget

The Arizona Legislature has finally adjourned its 2009 regular session, a marathon dominated by work on the state's budget troubles.

The House and Senate each adjourned at approximately 7:30 a.m. after overnight floor sessions during which lawmakers approved new budget bills.

The session lasted 170 days officially, but the 170th "session day" actually stretched well into a 171st, Wednesday.

At 170 days, the session is the fourth longest. At 171 days, it's tied for third.

The record of 173 days was set in 1988.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)