House Republicans will try again today to hammer out a deal on a new state budget. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer has been following the story.
Dissident Republicans met off and on all day behind closed doors Tuesday with GOP leaders. They want the nearly $9.2 billion spending plan approved last week by the Senate expanded to deal with their own priorities. At least part of that includes additional spending for the new Division of Child Welfare, created by Gov. Jan Brewer to replace the troubled Child Protective Services. Rep. Kate Brophy McGee, one of the holdouts, said late Tuesday she remains optimistic that a deal will be hammered out.
“We’re meeting, we’re talking, we’re continuing to converse. And we’re closer than we were before,” McGee said.
And, Brophy McGee said that’s more than was happening earlier this week when the GOP leadership tried to run the budget plan through the Republican-controlled House.
“The prior alternative is, there wasn’t this conversation. And we are having good conversations,” she said.
Other issues also remain, including whether the state will eliminate the ability of school districts to create their own charter schools. That provision was inserted into the Senate version of the budget, but is opposed by many House members. And, some holdouts have their own wish lists, like funding to start a new veterinary school at the University of Arizona.