Legislators aim to reassert authority with early budget

By Julia Shumway and Arren Kimbel-Sannit | Arizona Capitol Times

Republican leaders in the Arizona House and Senate are moving ahead with plans to draft their own budget proposal by the end of the year, reasserting legislative authority they say they lost during recent years.

By the time Gov. Doug Ducey tells the Legislature his plans for how to spend or save an estimated $170 million in ongoing funds and $475 million in one-time appropriations in mid-January, legislative leaders want him to know how the Legislature wants to use that money, Senate Majority Leader Rick Gray said.

“My hope is that by the end of the year we actually have a budget put together, that it will be in the governor’s hands and he’ll actually know what our House and Senate legislative body is looking at so we can be a little more cooperative,” the Sun City Republican said.

And House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Regina Cobb, R-Kingman, said she has met with 80% to 90% of her caucus and has reached out to agency heads about their budgetary priorities.

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