Passing $12.8B budget means appeasing several Republicans


By Julia Shumway and Nathan Brown | Arizona Capitol Times 

GOP leaders in the House and Senate introduced a $12.8 billion spending plan Monday afternoon with high hopes of passing it by Wednesday — but finding the votes to pass it will prove difficult. 

The spending plan, as laid out in twin sets of 11 bills Monday, is nearly identical to a deal that Gov. Doug Ducey and legislative leaders reached early last week, with extra money for roads, universities and technical education added to coax recalcitrant Republicans into voting for the plan. With only 16 Republicans in the Senate, 31 in the House and a $3 billion tax cut guaranteeing no support from Democrats, every single Republican must vote for the budget.  

For now, the House and Senate appropriations committees plan to spend most of the day Tuesday hearing the budget bills, which include sweeping policy changes and revived language from controversial bills that failed to pass earlier in the year.  

The Senate temporarily added Majority Leader Rick Gray to the appropriations committee, buying an additional vote on the committee, which has a 6-4 Republican majority, because Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, opposes the spending plan.  

“Last week I was TOLD what the budget was going 2 look like. B/c I was true 2 my principles I told leadership as a fiscal conservative I couldn’t support it w/ this level of excessive spending. What message is Sen. Prez sending by appointing Sen. Gray to Approps to negate my vote?,” Ugenti-Rita tweeted Monday afternoon.  

As Ugenti-Rita shows, the biggest hurdles Republican leaders face in passing a budget and going home for the year are inside their own caucuses.  


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