Talks continue this afternoon in a bid to finally come up with a new state budget. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.
Last week, the Senate adopted a nearly $9.2 billion spending plan. But, that drew objections from several House Republicans who said the package shorts certain priorities, ranging from funding for the new child-welfare agency to aid to public education. Despite that, House Speaker Andy Tobin put the plan up for vote on Monday even though he admitted he did not have firm commitments from the necessary 31 lawmakers to support the plan, with or without amendments to add funding. Tobin defended that decision.
“Sometimes you never have 31 in blood to go to a budget vote. Sometimes you just have to figure you’re close. And, there were some of those amendment that were out there, we weren’t sure where our members were going to be at,” Tobin said.
Meanwhile, there are closed-door negotiations involving not only the House leadership but also some of those dissident GOP lawmakers to see if there is a meeting of the minds. Tobin said earlier this afternoon they’re not quite there.
“I do not have white smoke yet. But, I may be just lucky to get some gray smoke,” he said.