Dem slams Ariz. gov's absence as session falters

AP News
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Posted: Nov 20, 2009 11:27 AM

A Democratic legislative leader criticized Republican Gov. Jan Brewer for being out of state while efforts to close out a special legislative session focused on Arizona's budget crisis faltered.

Senate majority Republicans came up one vote short on a key budget-balancing bill, with at least two GOP senators voicing objections to provisions of the package that GOP leaders negotiated with Brewer and her staff. With the fate of spending cuts to help close the state's $2 billion shortfall in question, legislative leaders adjourned the special session into next week.

"Why is she calling a special session and then leaving if they don't have an agreement?" said House Minority Leader David Lujan, D-Phoenix, on Thursday. "Clearly everything wasn't worked out."

Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman said the governor relied on Republican legislative leaders' assurances that they had enough votes lined up. He also said minority Democrats and a few Republicans not supporting the package weren't taking the need to cut spending seriously.

Senate President Bob Burns, R-Peoria, said it didn't matter that Brewer was out of state. Her positions on budget issues were known and her aides were mentioning the developing situation at the Legislature, Burns said.