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Budget Battle Puts Arizona Weeks Away From Paying Employees in IOUs; Maybe Lawmakers Will Get the Hint When They Stop Getting Paid

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According to state Treasurer Dean Martin, the state of Arizona is only weeks away from having to pay state employees with IOUs. Considering state legislators are the ones who got Arizona into this mess, that sounds good to us.

Martin spoke to the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Infrastructure and the Public Debt yesterday and broke the bad news to lawmakers -- if they can't iron out a budget, IOUs for government employees are right around the corner.

Martin says if there is no deal by February 1, when state schools are given their monthly $325 million operating funds, the state's cash flow will have maxed out and the schools will be out of luck.

Fortunately there is a plan B, since plan A -- where citizens elect competent people to handle the state's finances in a timely manner -- hasn't exactly worked out.

The state is set to sell several government buildings to private investors with a plan to lease and buy the buildings back over time. That plan would bring in about $735 million and keep the state afloat for a few more weeks. Martin tells the New York Times that plan is "on track" and the money should be available by mid-January

Let's hope so -- nobody seems to have a plan C at this point and giving lawmakers the benefit of the doubt by assuming they can get some sort of budget worked out has just become depressing.

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