Budget crisis: Gilbert senator a no-show, Republicans fall one vote shortPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX -- Arizona lawmakers are extending their special session into next week after another no progress day debating the budget. Republicans thought they had the votes to get it done Thursday, but they were wrong.
So what happened?
“Well, we're one vote short,” explained Sen. Russell Pierce (R). “We had a member not here."
That member was Gilbert Republican Thayer Verschoor. He was at the Capitol but did not vote.
"My understanding is Sen. Verschoor left at the last moment -- refused to vote -- because he was not able to get an amendment on that would have prohibited state agencies from being able to raise fees," said Sen. Rebecca Rios (D).
Another Republican was also missing. Sen. Barbara Leff wasn't at Thursday’s special session vote because she's on a cruise. Her office told us she'll be back in town on Monday. That's when the special session starts up again, before the budget runs out.
"We're going to be shutting down agencies, we're going to not not be giving paychecks to employees, we're not going to be doing business," Pierce said. "We have got to fix this problem. I'm very disappointed."
Gov. Jan Brewer was also out of town during the vote Thursday. She was back in the Valley Thursday night trying to piece together a budget deal.