Appealing to the Governor, State Senators Beef Up Budget

Mar 21, 2014

State senators adopted a nearly $9.2 billion spending plan Thursday night. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

Gov. Jan Brewer
Credit Capitol Media Services file photo by Howard Fischer

The package contains a bit more cash than the original Senate GOP plan as legislative leaders sought to satisfy Gov. Jan Brewer. For example, she wants $25 million to create a new child welfare agency. Senators first offered just $5 million but eventually came up to $20 million. And, they also finally agreed to put in some money — though not as much as Brewer wants — for testing to implement the new Common Core standards. Senate President Andy Biggs said he thinks this is a package the governor can sign. But, gubernatorial press aide Andrew Wilder said not so fast.

“We’re identifying our priorities, letting them know what we’d like to see. They come in and don’t necessarily give us what we’re asking for on something. On some things we get some better progress. On other things they don’t,” Wilder said.

While Brewer is getting some of what she wants, the Democrats, for the most part, are not. They complained about insufficient cash for everything from K-12 education to subsidized child care. Sen. Steve Farley said while the plan restores some of the funds for road construction and maintenance, it’s insufficient.

“That $30 million, when you consider it’s divided out over all the state highways, all the cities and all the counties, is probably going to fill about four potholes in Pima County,” Farley said.

Farley said he hopes the measure, which now goes to the House, is altered there to restore the entire $120 million that has been taken from the fund.