Yeah, Yeah, It’s All Napolitano’s Fault

Janet NapolitanoThe new meme among Republicans is that the current budget mess is all the fault of Janet Napolitano. Here’s Randy Pullen:

This crisis is the legacy of Janet Napolitano. The days of runaway spending and big government are over here in Arizona, as are the days of rainbow revenue projections.

I’ll let you sit back for a second and enjoy the irony of the party that brought you “dynamic scoring” decrying “rainbow revenue projections.”

To hear Pullen and company tell it, Napolitano was fully in charge of the state’s budgets for the last eight years. If Pullen thinks thats the way that this stuff works, I want to recommend a book for him. Fact is, most of Napolitano’s budgets were bipartisan affairs and not just a case of her picking off a renegade here or there, but supported by big slices of the Republican caucus and even leadership.

Check this out, these are the budget votes during Napolitano’s reign as governor:

  • 2003 Senate: 23 Ayes, 6 Nays 1 Not Voting. 15 ayes came from Republican caucus, including Robert Burns, Jack Harper and Ken Bennett. All but one nay came from Democrats, including current leader Jorge Luís García.
  • 2003 House: 32 Ayes, 27 Nays, 1 Not Voting. 32 ayes came entirely from Republican caucus, which included Randy Graf and Jake Flake. Only Democrat not to vote “nay” was the mercurial Sylvia Laughter, who did not vote.
  • 2004 Senate: 21 Ayes, 8 Nays, 1 Not Voting. Ayes from whole Democratic caucus (save one member, Albert Hale, not voting), with the support of a bare majority of the Republican caucus, including Bennett and Tim Bee.
  • 2004 House: 35 Ayes, 25 Nays. Fifteen ayes came from Republican caucus, including Michelle Reagan.
  • 2005 Senate: 27 Ayes, 2 Nays, 1 Not Voting. Hard to call a vote like that anything but “bipartisan.” Only Democrats not to vote yes were García (nay) and Victor Soltero (not voting). Opposition in Republican caucus came not from the far right, but a single nay from from Toni Hellon. Republicans voting yes included Burns, Harper, Ron Gould and Karen Johnson.
  • 2005 House: 52 Ayes, 4 Nays, 4 Not Voting. Like that year’s senate vote, it would be hard to look at a vote like this and not see that the budget had broad support. All but four Republicans voted aye, including Russell Pearce (!) and Jim Weiers.
  • 2006 Senate: 22 Ayes, 2 Nays, 6 Not Voting. Another broad vote, with only two very conservative Republican members voting nay. Aye votes included then and future senate presidents Bee, Burns and Bennett.
  • 2006 House: 46 Ayes, 9 Nays, 5 Not Voting. This budget would have passed on Republican votes alone (including Weiers, Pearce, Pamela Gorman and Kirk Adams), with the opposition coming not from the right, but from then Democratic leader Phil Lopes. Lopes marshalled a small rebellion among Democrats that was responsible for all but one of the no votes.
  • 2007 Senate: 23 Ayes, 5 Nays, 2 Not Voting. Even though the Republican caucus had tilted more to the right by this point, this budget passed with nearly half the votes (eleven) coming from Republicans. Then Senate President Bee highlighted this as an example of his bipartisanship in his race for congress the next year.
  • 2007 House: 38 Ayes, 21 Nays, 1 Not Voting. Passed mostly on Democratic votes with 12 Republicans, but supported by the Republican leadership, including Speaker Weiers.
  • 2008 Senate: 16 Ayes, 10 Nays, 4 Not Voting. This is probably the closest thing to a “partisan” budget, with only the support of three Republicans (although one was then President Bee). Interestingly, this was the only one of these budgets without spending increases. Far from it, this mostly Democratic supported budget included over $300 million in spending reductions. Can’t say the same of the ones where support came from broad swaths of the Republican caucus.
  • 2008 House: 31 Ayes, 29 Nays. Again, like on the Senate side, a very partisan vote with only a scattering of Republican support. But again, the only one of these budgets to include major cuts.

7 thoughts on “Yeah, Yeah, It’s All Napolitano’s Fault

  1. Excellent information- this is the stuff we need to get out there! That’s what I’m talking about!

  2. Tedski – For the most part I agree with your assessment, I also feel that we should, simply for the sake of intellectual honesty, admit that Janet bears some culpability for the budget problems Arizona is now facing. Is it 100%? Of course not. But remember one of the ongoing memes of the Napolitano era was that she managed to get most of what she wanted out of a GOP legislature. She was the dominant politician in the state, a remarkable feat in a state with McCain, Kyl, and Hayworth.
    The trouble with fighting over the past is that most voters will consider the last 6 years as the Napolitano years, not the Weiers years. We will lose that fight. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t fight the GOP legislature now over the cuts they are making and trying to make. Just my 2 cents.

  3. I like Dilbert the comic strip. In the strip, there is a character named Wally who is the ultimate weasel employee. One of the things he does that is very weaselly is blame whoever is not in the room for his failures. Take from that what you will.

  4. Sirocco is right! The “facts” are that we are screwed right now not because of the deals Janet cut, but because she left her job before it was over to pursue a personal ambition, leaving the state to be run by the wingnuts now calling the shots.

    Does that make Pullen and Co. “half right?”

  5. You can’t blame Janet for going though (even though I wanted her to stay and help John McCain start enjoying the retired life.)

    She’s fought the good fight for the past six years, protecting us from the band of nutzos otherwise known as the legislature.

    But the status quo never lasts forever, and an opportunity like a cabinet post doesn’t come around every week.

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