By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times
The $11.8 billion state budget cleared its first hurdles Wednesday as the package of spending and tax cuts was approved by a pair of legislative panels.
The 7-4 party-line vote by the House Appropriations Committee came after the Republican-dominated panel rejected a series of proposals by Democrats to add some spending to the mix.
Across the courtyard, the Senate Appropriations Committee gave its blessing on a 6-4 margin.
In that case, however, Sen. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, sided with the Democrats in concluding that the spending plan left too many priorities unfunded.
But the plan did pick up the support of Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, after Gov. Doug Ducey agreed to her demand to eliminate by June 30, 2021 the controversial $32-a-vehicle registration fee instituted last year by the Department of Transportation to fund the Highway Patrol.