District 1 Rep. Andy Tobin is among Arizona's legislators armed to do battle in the Fourth Special Legislative Session underway at the State Capitol this week.
"We're going back today with our bows and arrows and we're going to cut another billion dollars from the state budget," he told the audience packing the Hotel St. Michael Ballroom Tuesday for the Republican Women of Prescott's (RWOP) monthly meeting. The Paulden resident serves as House Majority Whip and says he and Senator Steve Pierce of Prescott have had enough of overspending and want to set the state budget back on its feet.
"We had the largest economic recovery package in the nation and the governor turned it down," he said. "We're going to come back with it."
Tobin said he received a call early Tuesday morning that Governor Jan Brewer called a special session to begin Tuesday but he made a call to Pierce, the Senate Majority Whip, and asked him to hold back the session from starting until 3 p.m. so he could meet his obligation in updating RWOP members as the guest speaker at their luncheon.
He said he sees the top priorities as "cutting more government, finding more revenue and trying to find some jobs."
Tobin said the main targets for their arrows is K-12 education spending and the escalating price tag attached to the Department of Economic Security's Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. As reported by AP, legislators are going after at least $300 million in cuts this week, a small step toward Tobin's goal of a billion dollars in cuts necessary and his promise to RWOP members that, "By December, you'll see a new recovery package passed in Arizona."
A Fox10 internet report Monday describes some of the issues Tobin, Pierce and Dist. 1 Rep. Lucy Mason are tackling in their work at the state capitol this week in "Cutting Budget a Tough Task for Leaders."
In addition to the proposed $300 million cuts, legislators are working on cleaning up other issues such as Senate Bill 1271. As reported in The Arizona Republic today, lawmakers are attempting to kill the controversial bill expected to result in homeowners owing thousands of dollars on homes and properties they lost through foreclosure.
This week's special session is scheduled to conclude late today but legislators have a great deal more work to do to keep the state's budget shortfall from plummeting to $5 billion over the next five years, as Tobin told the audience at Tuesday's RWOP meeting.
Prescott eNews will provide continued coverage on this special legislative session as we get concluding comments from our District 1 elected officials on this week's meetings and their thoughts on the ongoing battle to balance the budget.