Republican legislative leaders have pulled the plug on plans for a special session to deal with the state's budget deficit.
"Time has simply run out," House Speaker Jim Weiers and Senate President Tim Bee wrote in a letter delivered late Friday to Gov. Janet Napolitano. They said there is no "practical opportunity" to have a special session between now and the start of the new regular session Jan. 12 to craft a solution to the $1.2 billion gap between anticipated revenues and expenses.
And the pair blamed Napolitano for that failure, saying she proposed "an incomplete plan" and has not provided necessary details.
Gubernatorial press aide Jeanine L'Ecuyer said that's not true. She said Napolitano presented a plan that fixed the entire $1.2 billion gap.
L'Ecuyer acknowledged that plan included not just outright spending cuts but also some "suspensions," putting off some purchases into future budget years.
There also were some accounting devices, including having the state delay paying certain bills, as well as draining whatever is left in the state's "rainy day" fund.
And one idea would sell off the state's right to some future Lottery ticket sales in exchange for cash right now.
That apparently did not sit well with the lawmakers who said her plan "only creates a greater problem for the next Legislature to address."
There already are estimates that the deficit for the coming fiscal year which begins July 1 could hit $2 billion if permanent spending cuts are not made now.
L'Ecuyer said if the legislative leaders did not like what Napolitano proposed to fix the deficit, they should have presented their own alternative. That, she said, did not happen.