Arizona Treasurer Gives State Officials Ultimatum: Pass a Budget Or the Bank's Closed

Not only does the state of Arizona have a $3.5 billion budget gap to close, it's also apparently about $400 million in debt due to internal loans .

State Treasurer Dean Martin to the rescue.

Our liable Legislature has been borrowing money from about 1,800 government funds just to pay bills.

"It's like living paycheck to paycheck with your credit cards also being maxed out. That's basically where the state is right now," Martin says.

Martin told state leaders yesterday that they have until the end of the week to pass a budget or they won't even be able to keep the lights on.

Once the state's debt reaches $500 million, Martin says, it will lose flexibility to make internal loans, and will have to turn to private banks for the money.

However, private banks are a bit more business savvy than than the state government, and won't loan money to an organization that has no annual budget.

"Every day this state is in danger of actually starting to bounce checks," state Senator Thayer Verschoor told legislators the other day.

Here's a thought; maybe when the electricity gets shut off at the capitol, working by candlelight might put a little fire under the asses of legislators to get this budget mess over with.

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James King
Contact: James King