Greg Ensell, Vice President of Government Relations
The fight for budget spending continues as both chambers approved the budget package late Wednesday night. An $11.8 billion plan has state Republicans and the Governor in what feels like a never-ending battle. A handful of GOPs have expressed that they are a definite ‘no’ vote on the new proposal for a number of reasons, including altering the state tax code to allow for changes in federal tax law, as well as the next steps in the 20 by 202 teacher pay raise plan.
A bipartisan agreement might not be such a bad idea
On the other hand, state Democrats see eye to eye on many budget items the Governor has included in his budget plan. But does that mean anything? Numerous Democratic leaders have spoken out on the lack of consideration during the negotiations. Democrats in both chambers said they were mostly left out of negotiations, since Republicans control both chambers of the Legislature and the Governor's Office.
What is the bottom line?
There is so much uncertainty as to when the budget negotiations will end. What we do know is that it will take 16 votes to approve the legislation in the Senate. This means that 2 of the 3 ‘no’ Republican votes will need to be swayed to a ‘yes.’ The Arizona Constitution requires all bills to be read three separate times on three separate days, a rule that can only be suspended with a two-thirds vote. The House first read its budget bills May 21, but did not have a second read on May 22, meaning a third read cannot start until 12:01 a.m., May 24. AzHHA is currently working on budget negotiations with legislators and will continue to keep membership updated in the process. AzHHA members are encouraged to participate in the May 24 bi-weekly legislative update call for the most up to date information on the state budget. If you are an AzHHA member and would like more information about the bi-weekly legislative calls, please contact Whitney Jackson.