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Monday
Feb282011

Arizona Governor on Shutdown: 'Government Is a Necessary Evil'

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Facing an oncoming federal budget crisis, Republican governors Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Jan Brewer of Arizona both said a government shutdown would not be productive for the country.

"I think government is a necessary evil," Brewer said.  "But it's necessary to provide services, and they should be able to come to some solution.  We need to trim the budget and move on."

"We appreciate our public employees but our job as governor is to look after our taxpayers," Haley added.

Along with Brewer and Haley, two other governors -- Democrats Deval Patrick of Massachusetts and John Hickenlooper of Colorado -- joined in a round-table discussion with ABC News to discuss the possible government shutdown.

A longtime friend and supporter of President Obama, Patrick said the fiscal crisis was a "real opportunity" to learn how Americans want the government to function.

"All of us are dealing with these kinds of challenges, and trying to get our budget gaps closed," Patrick said.  "There's another way, it's about turning towards each other instead of against each other."

Haley, at 39 years old the youngest governor ever elected, praised the GOP's proposed plan for $50 million in spending cuts, but said she felt it was Obama's responsibility to listen to Republican legislators instead of forcing Republicans to listen to his plan.

"[The Republicans] are just doing what the people are asking of them," she said.

The effort to slash the federal budget could cause difficulties for Brewer and Arizona, because one of the proposed cuts would mean 685 fewer border patrol agents.  The Republican governor acknowledged that fewer border patrol agents could be a problem for all the states that share a border with Mexico.

"I believe we need as much resources as necessary to get our borders secured," Brewer said.  "I hope that will be reinstated.  We all know that Arizona is the gateway for illegal immigration, and the drug smuggling and the drug cartel. ...We're going to continue fighting the battle on our border."

Patrick repeatedly touted how Massachusetts was able to "close huge budget gaps" successfully, including in education spending, and Hickenlooper defended his proposed $300 million in spending cuts for Colorado.

"We have to balance the budget and get back on the fiscal track," Hickenlooper said.  "For one year, we're going to have to retrench with less money."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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