State House Approves Budget After Spending Compromises

Mar 28, 2014

The state House approved a spending plan late Thursday after the Republican majority agreed to add funding sought by holdouts. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, (left) and Rep. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, read proposed budget amendments Thursday.
Credit Photo by Evan Wyloge, Arizona Capitol Times

Action had been stalled after six Republicans refused to support the budget that had been approved last week by the Senate. The final package has about $58 million more. More than half of that is to continue additional aid to charter schools operated by school districts. There also are smaller additions, like $2.5 million to help start a veterinary school at the University of Arizona. But, the bid by the dissidents for a big increase in cash for child welfare above the Senate plan stalled. Appropriations Chairman John Kavanagh said he first wants want to see the findings of a special report on the agency due next month.

“We are committed to giving more later on. But it’s premature to set a higher amount for CPS funding until next month when the study committee comes in and says what should it be. The issue will be readdressed at that time,” Kavanagh said.

Rep. Kate Brophy McGee, one of the holdouts, did get colleagues to add language saying it is the “intent of the Legislature” to reexamine the budget after release of that report. She acknowledged that falls short of an actual commitment of new dollars. But, she said the findings should provide ammunition — and public pressure — to demand funds for additional staffing. The Senate gets a look at the House changes later today.