Photo: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer
Tuesday, Jan Brewer was able to ride Arizona’s controversial immigration law all the way to victory and defeat Democratic Opponent Terry Goddard by a significant margin, but Arizona has bigger and more immediate problems than immigration despite what her campaign had voters believing.
With all the coverage and excitement over Senate Bill 1070, it should come as no surprise that Brewer won the election, but if you take a look at her dismal campaign as recently as March, you’d see a completely different race. Before signing SB 1070, Brewer’s election was unlikely.
Opponents like Goddard had predicted that concerns over immigration would subside over the summer, but when the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against SB 1070, it kept it on voters’ minds throughout the campaign season as it was constantly in the news.
“Nothing is more important than getting our economy back on track, and yet usually what I’m asked about is my opinion of (SB) 1070 and whether the court’s going to find it illegal or not,” a frustrated Goddard said. “I think it’s imperative that Arizona get down to the business of fixing what ails our state economy.”
After making one of the biggest comebacks in political history by straddling controversy to remain in office, Brewer now has to face reality as she still has the responsibility of bringing Arizona out of its troubled times.
Arizona faces a budget deficit of $825 million in the current fiscal year, and the clear failure of propositions 301* and 302** will add $468 million to that deficit.
Additionally, state operations will add another $1.4 billion to the deficit next year, and Brewer has ruled out any additional tax increases to close the gap. To make matters even worse, the state will lose two major sources of income during the next governor’s term, as federal stimulus dollars disappear and the voter-approved sales-tax increase expires this year.
Now that Governor Brewer has given voters what they want in bringing the beginning of the end to “illegal” immigration, one has to wonder if she can now keep LEGAL residents in Arizona in light of the state’s disintegrating economy.
*Proposition 301-move funds from the conservation land fund to the general fund.
**Proposition 302- eliminate the state’s early childhood development and health programs and move the money to the general fund.