Brewer not revealing proposed budget cuts - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Brewer not revealing proposed budget cuts

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Posted: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 7:45 pm | Updated: 1:45 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Gov. Jan Brewer is refusing to make public what her department directors say will be the effect of future budget cuts, at least for the time being.

Brewer last month directed all agency chiefs to prepare to cut spending up to another 20 percent on top of the cuts already made to their budgets. The governor said at the time the economy is not getting better.

Brewer directed Eileen Klein, her chief budget officer, to detail which programs or services they would be most willing to surrender. All that, Klein said, should be put into priorities involving cuts of 5, 10, 15 and 20 percent to let the governor - and the Legislature - decide what can be eliminated.

Those reports were due at 5 p.m. Friday.

Since that time, Capitol Media Services has made repeated requests for the documents. But gubernatorial press aide Paul Senseman said as recently as Wednesday afternoon that the information will be available "when it has been compiled," something he said could be done as early as next week.

Senseman did not respond to additional requests for the actual documents already in the governor's possession, compiled or not.

The governor has not made clear what information she's willing to make public.

In talking about the governor's request last month, Senseman promised "transparency" in how Brewer prepares her budget. But he declined to guarantee that the public will get a look at what the department heads suggest.

"We'll see what the submissions are to the governor's office and make a decision at that point," he said.

Brewer's request to the agency chiefs for future spending reductions came after lawmakers approved about $580 million in spending cuts to bridge a $1.6 billion deficit in the current budget. The balance was made up with cash taken from various special funds and an anticipated $500 million in federal stimulus dollars.

"Unfortunately, permanent spending commitments based on faulty or temporary revenues and a bleak economic outlook suggest more difficult times ahead for Arizona," Klein wrote to the department chiefs. Various estimates put the gap next year between revenues and expenses at anywhere from $2.4 billion to more than $3 billion, even after that $580 million in cuts.

Brewer has since said she wants an additional $1 billion either in spending cuts or deferrals for the coming fiscal year. She plans to make up the difference with an additional $1 billion in stimulus cash as well as a temporary tax hike to raise another $1 billion.

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