Lawmakers Continue to Debate State Budget Deal

May 4, 2017

4:40 p.m.

Republican Arizona lawmakers are horse-trading to secure enough votes to pass a $9.8 billion state budget package that includes a $1 billion university construction loan package.

 

The floor of the Arizona Senate
Credit azleg.gov

House Speaker J.D. Mesnard says three new provisions are being added to help ease the way to passage without minority Democratic support.

The proposals include at least $1 million in new money for "freedom school" programs at Arizona State University and the University of Arizona that have received millions in funding from the conservative Charles Koch Foundation. Other proposals include a ban on universities using general fund money for lobbyists and a requirement that cities place tax-raising measures only on even-year general election ballots.

 

The deals are needed to overcome conservative opposition to the big university bonding proposal.

1 p.m.

Both the Arizona House and the Senate are marking time as deal-making continues in an effort by majority Republicans to secure enough votes for passage of a state budget.

Both chambers had short floor sessions Thursday morning on non-budget bills and then recessed to allow talks to continue. House Republican leaders say they've got the votes to pass the $9.8 billion budget and think they've got enough for a $1 billion university construction loan package.

Senate President Steve Yarbrough also says he has the budget votes but is far short of the 16 Republican votes he needs for the bonding plan.

Democrats are opposed and Yarbrough is working behind the scenes to either get more GOP support or persuade a handful of Democrats to back the plan.

House Speaker J.D. Mesnard says he won't take up the 11 budget bills until a deal is reached in the Senate because changes may be needed.