Why Arizona lawmakers should pass a barebones budget now

Robert Rob/acreen grab

Opinion: Republicans have mismanaged the process, leaving too little time to pass a thoughtful, bipartisan budget before the lights in state government go out.

By Robert Robb |Arizona Republic

When there was an attempt to pass a current services state budget in April, I wrote that it was premature. And, indeed, it ingloriously failed to even get out of the House Appropriations Committee. 

With authorization to spend money for state programs running out as of June 30, and the Legislature’s budget deliberations in a state of disarray, the time for a placeholder current services budget has arrived.

The Legislature should pass one. And then the governor should convene a special session for the Legislature to make a considered, bipartisan decision about what to do with the state’s gargantuan $5 billion surplus.

A current services budget funds existing programs at existing levels except for mandatory formula adjustments, such as an inflation boost for K-12 education. In legislative circles, it is known as a skinny budget.

A Republican-only budget is a dead end.

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