One Stinkin' Republican Vote Separates Arizona From a State Budget

At this point, there are three reasons Arizona still has a $3.4 billion budget gap: state senators Pamela Gorman, Ron Gould, and Carolyn Allen.

Senate Republicans are one vote away from the 16 necessary to pass a plan that would bridge the budget gap, and the three stubborn Republican holdouts aren't budging.

Senate leaders are targeting Allen and Gorman as the two most likely to change their no votes, and get the legislation passed, but most Republicans have written off Gould as a lost cause.

"Most of the members think he's a joke. I think he's playing with everybody," Senator Steve Pierce says of Gould to the Arizona Guardian. "They're making themselves very difficult to work with."

From the sound of things, the GOP can probably write off Allen as well.

On Monday, when asked about the notion that she would be the easiest of the three to get on board, Allen said: "I don't know what they're smoking, but if it's marijuana, we ought to be taxing it."

Not a bad idea. Medical marijuana clinics would certainly be a boon to the state tax-wise. But we digress.

And then there is the final GOP hope, Senator Gorman, who just this week resigned her leadership to protest the plan, storming off in a huff.

"Given that I cannot support the position of Senate leadership on these tax increase and spending issues, I feel it is appropriate that I resign my position as Senate Majority Whip effective immediately," she told Senate President Bob Burns.

With no Republican solution in sight, it seems Republican leaders would have more luck trying to convince a Democrat.

And yes; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Gray is still on a Caribbean cruise, so even if the GOP could persuade one of the three, they wouldn't even be able to vote until he gets back from, could it be, Jamaica?

Speaking of smoking ganja, mon.