Tucson government back to work

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- While Mayor Walkup was in Washington, his colleagues on council met for the first time since Tucson's tragedy.  And they had a lot to deal with.

It was back to work Wednesday for city council.

Inside, there are already signs things are different since the Safeway shooting. Council members no longer in their usual spot, instead they sat farther away from the gallery. An unusual security change, as they wrestled with the usual problems.

"There are no easy answers for this," said Councilwoman Regina Romero.

Council still facing a huge $55 million budget deficit. They heard from city staff who revealed their budget proposal. It included new taxes, and more cuts.

"Now the burden shifts to us to filter through all the numbers that they showed us," said Steve Kozachik.

They have a lot of numbers and a lot of options to digest.

The mayor and council need to find $17.3 million in additional revenue, plus $37.8 million in cuts or reductions. All that to get back to zero and a balanced budget.

"This is the first step in a process.  No decisions were made,"said Kozachik.

"I think mayor and council did a good job of resisting zeroing in on certain line items," said Councilwoman Karin Uhlich.

"I wish we could have made some moves today," said Kozachik.

Uhlich and Kozachik disagreed on whether to act Wednesday, but everyone on the council agrees cutting and taxing the city's way into balance, is not the way to go.

"This community may not be able to bear any further cutting or taxing," said Uhlich.

"If we have at our disposal other ways of taking care of our budget proposal, then we should use it," said Romero.

What's clear is, no option will be left on the table.