Verschoor Shows Up, Burns Burns Dems; Senate Passes Budget Bills

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After nearly four agonizing months, the Arizona State Senate has finally passed four bills that will cut about $450 million from the state's budget.

Like most things in the Legislature, this afternoon's agreement didn't come without a little bit of drama.

First and foremost: Bravo to Senator Thayer Verschoor for actually showing up today.

Verschoor skipped the vote last week, which prevented the bills from passing -- sending Senate leadership into a panic trying to find a Democrat willing to go along with the GOP plan.

This morning, Senate President Bob Burns delayed reconvening the special session because he was under the impression that Verschoor was still AWOL and the Republicans were still one vote short of passing the bills.

Burns reached across the aisle to try and sweet talk a Democrat into joining the dark side and found Senator Albert Hale potentially looking to make a deal.

Hale reportedly would have considered offering his yes-vote in exchange for the use of federal impact aid money to make up for budget reductions to school districts on Indian reservations.

The negotiations came to an abrupt end, however, when Burns got a call telling him Verschoor was back on board and the Republicans no longer needed Democratic support to pass the bill.

"They said we don't need you anymore," Hale tells the Arizona Guardian. "When you treat people like that, it's not conducive to future negotiations."

Oh, because Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature have worked together swimmingly in the past. 

The bill is expected to be signed by Governor Jan Brewer as early as this afternoon.

We hate to be the party-pooper but in case anyone forgot, even with the $450 million cuts the budget is still short about $1.5 billion.

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