Greg Ensell, Vice President of Government Relations
With only 11 days in to the legislative session more than 650 bills have been introduced. These bills range from the highly technical and mundane to the very acrimonious. All bills and the state budget will be affected by three major factors that will frame the session:
Revenue Shortfall - Currently the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) estimates a revenue shortfall of approximately $104 million. It is possible the shortfall will lower between now and when the budget is adopted. However, the consensus is that any requests for new or increased funding in the budget will be a hard to get.
Education Funding - In his State of the State address and his proposed budget, Governor Ducey made it clear that his number one priority is increasing education funding – a sentiment that is shared by legislators on both sides. It may be difficult for non-education issues to gain traction given the combination of revenue shortfall and pressure for increased education funding.
Election Year Pressure - We may be in store for a short session in large part due to immense pressure among elected officials to return to the campaign trail and solidify their standing with voters in what may be an uncertain and possibly volatile election season.