State Senate Examines House Budget Changes

Mar 28, 2014

State senators are starting to examine changes that the House made Thursday night in the budget plan they had approved last week. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

State Senate President Andy Biggs

The House essentially took the Senate budget and added another nearly $54 million in spending. Senate President Andy Biggs said today he and the majority Republicans will look at the additions made as well as consider the governor’s own request, which is for even more.

“What are the odds of it coming out clean? Probably not so hot would be my guess. But, again, we’ll try to work with them, the House side and the executive side, and saying, look, what can we do to basically make this a consensus budget as we wrap it up this next week,” Biggs said.

One of the big changes is having the state continue to provide extra dollars to school districts that have created their own charter schools. That gets them $33 million in extra aid, money not in the Senate plan but added back by the House. Biggs said that will be a hard sell.

“This is a big policy issue. We start talking about $33 million extra. You have people who have actually come to me from both the other body and our body saying, look, they get $33 million. My district gets nothing extra for that,” he said.

The debate resumes on Monday.