YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) – Arizona Democrats say they were shut out of negotiations involving the state’s $12.8 billion budget and, they say, they were never briefed on the updated provisions. So on Tuesday, they chose not to participate in a vote.
Republican lawmakers in the house needed 31 votes to pass the budget. Two GOP lawmakers were absent, as were all Democratic lawmakers.
The house will reconvene Thursday morning for further debate on the spending plan, and it promises to be heated.
At issue – a major $1.9 billion tax cut. Democrats, like Yuma’s Representative Charlene Fernandez, say the measure benefits the richest Arizonans while failing to fully fund public education.
“We haven’t fully funded our public education money, you know, we hear this all the time, well what is fully funded mean – okay well I know that scale moves around, but the reality is that we owe public education money. So for a lot of us, we’d be happy if we could just make them whole, with what we owe them,” the district 4 representative explained.
Fernandez says the budget also includes a clause limiting the powers of the Secretary of State, the state’s top election official. The move comes while Arizona republicans continue their audit of the 2020 election.
A vote on the budget may not come until later Thursday night. If the budget is not passed by June 30th the state government will shut down.
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