Action Alert: delay House action on the budget for further negotiation

I have heard from Democratic state legislators that they and the “Medicaid expansion” Republicans are afraid they are going to have the budget “shoved down their throats” on Monday, and they are requesting that you contact the GOP leadership in the House and your state representatives to delay this vote for a few days to allow more time for negotiation of the House budget.

Currently, the House Appropriations Committee will hold a public hearing on the nine (9) bill budget package at 9:30 a.m. on Monday. The public can speak for or against the bills at this hearing (time is limited). The budget bills package is then scheduled to go before the full House for a Committee of the Whole (COW) vote and Third Read vote beginning at 1:30 p.m. Hence the “shoved down their throats” fear.

The Democrats and the “Medicaid expansion” Republicans want more time to negotiate additional funds for child care support in CPS, restoration of more public school funds, restoration of Highway User Funds (HURF) to local governments, etc.

The Senate budget passed last week, which is the vehicle for budget discussions in the House, is not a balanced budget. It builds in structural revenue deficits that will result in a $415 million shortfall by FY 2017 (the budget to be enacted in 2016).  Once again, the GOP is purposefully building in structural revenue deficits so they can argue for more budget cuts in the next legislature.

The only balanced budget proposal that exists is the Democratic Caucus budget, Arizona House Democrats: Jobs, education and child safety top budget priorities for Arizona House Democrats.

The GOP leadership (and the feckless Arizona political media) will not consider the Democratic Caucus budget. The best that can be done is to improve the spending levels through negotiations. So far, those negotiations have been conducted among the GOP leadership and the governor’s office behind closed doors in secret, and then rushed through the Senate chamber. The House Appropriations Committee hearing scheduled for Monday morning is just for window dressing.

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