Republicans brace for budget battle as Dems sit on sideline

By Ben Giles and Julia Shumway | Arizona Capitol Times

An $11.8 billion spending plan was introduced in the Arizona Legislature late Tuesday afternoon, setting GOP leaders and Gov. Doug Ducey on a collision course with a handful of Republican senators who said they’ll vote no on the budget deal.

Four Republican senators have declared their opposition to the budget for various reasons. Several more have expressed reservations about voting for a budget that they had no hand in negotiating and only began to digest on Monday, when House Speaker Rusty Bowers and Senate President Karen Fann began pitching the deal to rank-and-file lawmakers.

The proposal includes $386 million in cuts to taxes in fees, including a roughly $320 million income tax cut designed to offset temporary tax changes at the federal level and legislation to better enforce taxes of online sales.

Lawmakers will also have to grapple with legislation aimed at quashing political activity in classrooms; a bill to fund a pilot program for pregnancy centers that discourage abortions; and legislation to address state tax dollars being spent by families at schools outside Arizona’s borders.

Those bills were also introduced or resurrected late Tuesday afternoon.

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