State Capitol News
4:59 am
Thu March 27, 2014

State Budget Still in Limbo After Talks Break Down

A proposed $9.2 billion state budget is in limbo this morning as six dissident House Republicans said talks with party leaders have broken down. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

Rep. Kate Brophy McGee, R-Phoenix, details Wednesday why she thinks the budget plan being pushed by House Republican leadership provides insufficient funds to deal with child-welfare needs.
Credit Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer


Rep. Heather Carter said she and five others want to make sure the state is funding the most pressing needs.

“And it boils down to keeping kids safe and educating children. Now those are not the only priorities of Arizona. But, we’re here today to tell you that’s where some of the breakdowns in conversation have come about,” Carter said.

That specifically includes more money for the new child-welfare agency and restoring funds that have been withheld during lean times from K-12 education. Talks have been going on since Monday behind closed doors. But, Rep. Jeff Dial said leadership is not negotiating in good faith.

“I think when one side is reaching out, giving you the best offer, and the other side comes back and is playing games, and basically says no to everything basically, then it’s a problem,” Dial said.

That accusation of bad faith drew an angry response from House Majority Whip Rick Gray.

“We’ve spent days, hours in meetings. We’ve got members with all different views. They make not like what we’ve been talking about. But, to say we haven’t been doing it in good faith is unfair,” Gray said.

It is unclear when talks with resume.