Legislative update: New state budget

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Mary Jo Pitzl and Stacey Barchenger from the Arizona Republic and AZCcentral.com joined Arizona Horizon to discuss the new state budget plans.

“The process has been the problem, but also the reason that they got such a lopsided, bi-partisan budget,” Pitzl said.

There were diverse frameworks made, and in doing so established that if a person wanted something in the budget they felt obliged to vote for the rest of it, which is why many Democrats felt like their voices were not heard, according to Pitzl.

“In January, the Governor proposed repealing the universal voucher program, and the budget that we’ve seen this week does almost nothing on ESAs. There’s reporting requirements that we’re still trying to understand, how much of that is new, and her decision not to push harder on that– we’ve seen pushback from one of her key constituencies which is Save Our Schools,” Barchenger said.

Some Democrats and supporters are critically asking why there was not effort for public pushback. Nothing seemed to be heard until the budget came out this week, Pitzl said.

Because they had the votes, the budget was passed.

“That’s always the rule at the legislature. Once you know you’ve got your votes, you don’t let them go, you lock them down. It was a long night, but they had this agreement,” Pitzl said.

How is the Governor taking this apparent disconnect with Democratic lawmakers?

“We haven’t really heard from the governor herself since the House passed the bill. I expect we’ll hear more from her in the coming days, but her spokesman yesterday said, ‘Arizonans are tired of bickering politicians,’ and that of course was received icily by Democrats who lead the Senate,” Barchenger said.

Barchenger said the process of compiling this budget has exposed some problems in terms of Democrats working together.

Mary Jo Pitzl and Stacey Barchenger, The Arizona Republic and AZCcentral.com

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