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Senate President Bob Burns’ statement on veto and special session

“I am shocked and disappointed in Gov. Brewer’s actions. She vetoed a budget she agreed to; one that represented many long hours and concessions made to honor her requests. Her veto has jeopardized federal stimulus money, decimated public education – literally wiping out its funding – and put at risk the state’s most vulnerable citizens, the very ones she has claimed to want to protect.

To completely unravel a long and sometimes extremely difficult compromise makes absolutely no sense. The speaker and I held up our part of the bargain to work hard to get the necessary votes for the sales tax referral, but the votes just were not there – a reality that was plain for all to see.

We informed the governor during the last night of the session that we did not have the votes, but committed to continue trying to get them before sine die. We also committed to do the same in a special session, but specifically requested at least a couple weeks to let members regroup after a very grueling session. My experience with special sessions is that some ground work must be done in advance in order to create a more efficient product.

These past few months I have witnessed behavior that is incomprehensible to me. The governor has surrounded herself with a team of outstanding staff, most of whom I have known for years and respect very much. However, decisions and demands coming from her office have been unbelievable and in some cases unachievable.

This is not the first time a budget negotiation has gone to the 11th hour of the legislative session, but this is the first time a governor has abused the public in what can only be described as a strong arm tactic to take control of the legislative process (closing parks and ordering people to leave by midnight, for example). Vetoing major portions of a budget that she had agreed to, and demanding the Legislature return without any preparation, is not moving the ball forward, it is taking a giant step backwards and appears to be a vindictive retaliation against the Legislature for not rubber-stamping ‘her plan.’

It appears the governor is having problems managing the level of responsibility to which she has been elevated. I hope she takes the opportunity during the weekend celebrating our nation’s independence to reassess her priorities and get back in touch with the qualities that embodied the reliable and reasonable person I used to know.”

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