Where's the State Senate Majority Leader in the Midst of the State's Budget Crisis? On a Carribean Cruise Obviously

If you were an Arizona state senator, where would you go while the state faces one of the worst financial crisis of your lifetime? If your answer isn't to go on a Caribbean cruise, you may want to tell that to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Gray.

Gray whisked off to paradise Sunday as the rest of the Legislature feverishly continues its special session to try to close the state's $3.4-billion budget gap.

Senate President Bob Burns asked Gray to return early from his island leave of absence so the Senate could vote this week, but the vacationing senator cordially declined.

Gray's absence will ultimately put any progress on the budget at a standstill until he gets back. The current plan is two or three Republican votes short of passing, and Senate Republicans who currently don't support the plan aren't budging.

Senator Carolyn Allen, another potential GOP vote for the budget, really isn't budging. Last week, Allen took a tumble down a stairwell at the Capitol, hurt her knee, and she is recovering at home in Scottsdale.

"They're trying to sucker me into coming down there. I don't believe anything anybody's telling me," she tells The Arizona Guardian. "I think they're misrepresenting a lot of things to me. I guess they think that I am so drugged up that I wouldn't find out."

Arizona Senate Republicans = pain pills and Carribean cruises. Sounds like a party.

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James King
Contact: James King