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The Devils Went Down to Georgia: Arizona Legislators Ditch Town to Mingle in Dixie in the Midst of AZ Budget Battle '09

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Where's the best place to go when you need to find more than $2 billion to pay for Arizona's budget this year? If you ask some Arizona Legislators, the answer's Atlanta, Georgia, duh.

Fourteen lawmaker members of Arizona's GOP shuffled down to dixie this week to attend the American Legislative Exchange Council's annual meeting at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Atlanta, as the rest of the Legislature endured the heat here in Phoenix, and held bipartisan meetings Friday about how to fix the budget.

Don't blow any gaskets just yet.

This isn't the Social Security Administration at the Arizona Biltmore and our elected officials are doing actual work. However, why aren't they in Phoenix doing the job they haven't finished yet?

The legislators have full days of speaches, training seminars, and workshops. No place on the agenda does it mention casino night like at the SSA's "training seminar." Though former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich spoke to the group for an hour Friday afternoon, which must have been (yawn...) pretty thrilling.

Arizona House Majority Leader John McComish attended the conference in Atlanta, but participated in Friday's budget meetings via-teleconference and tells the Arizona Guardian that the meetings were mildly productive.

"We didn't resolve anything," he says of the budget confabs. Well Mr. Representative, could that be because you didn't actually go?

Have legislators contracted the syndrome commonly found in housepainters and contractors? Paint half a house, move on to the next job. and occassionally pop-in to paint a wall here and there?


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