As we reported Tuesday, when you're the Arizona State Senate majority leader, and your state is in the midst of heated budget negotiations, taking a Caribbean cruise is probably not your best course of action.
Apparently some members of the Republican caucus agree.
In a closed door meeting of Senate Republicans, some GOP members expressed outrage over the fact that while the Legislature is in what appears to be the final stages of bridging the $3.4 billion budget gap, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Gray is on vacation in the Caribbean.
"There are some people who are really upset that he's gone right now," newly elected Senate Majority Whip Steve Pierce says. "I'd prefer he be here right now, but in hindsight, we didn't have enough votes the other day. So it didn't make much of a difference."
Part of the reason Republicans didn't have enough votes to pass their budget plan the other day is because so many senators weren't there. Republican truancy is ironically the same reason the GOP couldn't vote to have Gray ousted as majority leader, which some members wanted to do.
The Senate is expected to vote on the budget Monday when Gray returns to the desert after a week in paradise. Needless to say, he will be walking into a firestorm; hopefully his sabatical has left him feeling "irie."
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.