Us? Budget? Never Heard of It.

One of the little bits from La Cervecera’s State of the State Address that has gotten some folks talking was Jan Brewer’s non-introduction of State Treasurer Dean Martin and Attorney General Terry Goddard. It might not have been as remarked on except that the Governor made a point of looking at the two of them when she called on others to step up and come up with their own budgets.

The incident seemed to make the annual address cross that line into a campaign speech. No serious observer would tell you that these speeches are free of politics; they are given to push the Governor’s agenda. However, we don’t expect it to be a slap at her electoral opponents. I spoke to a long time observer of these speeches and she told me that she hadn’t seen this sort of thing before.

She is frustrated not just at her possible electoral rivals, but the legislators sitting in front of her have given an indication that they may just let her fall on the sword over this budget. There has been talk that Republican leaders may not offer their own budget after the Governor offers her plan on Friday. Even if they don’t go that far, they are already referring to possible budget plans as “staff budgets” rather than the traditional term of “chairmen’s budgets,” making it sound like the whole darned thing will be the fault of anonymous bureaucrats.

Before we try to make her out to be a heroine here, Brewer herself avoided having to present budget specifics last time since she came into office after Janet Napolitano had already presented her budget. Although she was under no legal obligation to present a budget, it took her far too long to get engaged in the arguments last session with anything except platitudes. It makes her “put up or shut up” arguments now a little hard to take.

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