Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Remember how Republicans whined for a year about Democrats in Congress "ramming through" and jamming through" legislation in Congress without adequate time for committee hearings, debate and GOP amendments? (Even though there were numerous committee hearings, extended debate and hundreds of GOP amendments adopted).
Well, it works a little differently here in Arizona. The secretly negotiated budget deal between the Tea-Publican leadership of the legislature and the lobbyists who run the Governor's office was announced on Wednesday. The House started work on the budget at 3:30 p.m. Thursday with a public hearing, and concluded work over 16 hours later at 8:09 a.m. this morning.
The 13 spending bills were "rammed through" and "jammed through" the Arizona House with little notice and opportunity for the public to be heard in committee hearings, and little time for debate and without amendments from the Democrats.
This is the same "budget-in-a-day" strategy employed by "King" Russell Pearce in the Senate last week. This is what authoritarianism looks like folks.
The Arizona House worked through the night on Thursday and passed a state budget on a party-line vote this mornming. Arizona House passes budget; final OK expected today:
The plan represented in the 13-bill package contains $1.1 billion in spending cuts, mostly to education and health care, two of the biggest portions of the state budget. There is no new borrowing in the budget, a tactic the Legislature has used in recent years to help bridge yawning deficits.
After negotiations with Gov. Jan Brewer that literally continued through the dark of night, lawmakers added a provision that will restore transplant funding. State officials hope it will end the derision and ridicule the state has received since last fall, when the state cut off funding for certain transplants.
However, Rep. Tom Chabin, D-Flagstaff, noted the money won't be available until October – a long wait for the 96 people affected by the policy change.
House Speaker Kirk Adams, R-Mesa, and the majority Republicans lauded the budget for being balanced without new borrowing and without gimmicks.
But lawmakers from both sides of the aisle questioned that premise.
"I don't believe we have a balanced budget because we have shifted costs to the counties and cities," said Rep. Nancy McLain, R-Bullhead City. Although those cost shifts amount to about 1 percent of state spending, they put a much bigger burden on local governments, she said.
They include "local contributions" from county and city governments – essentially forced payments – and policy moves that redirect gas tax and vehicle license dollars that normally would be shared with local governments back into state operations.
With the budget done – Senate approval is expected later today, and Brewer's approval is imminent – House Speaker Kirk Adams predicted the Legislature is not far from final adjournment.
"I will paraphrase Sarah Palin: 'I can see sine die from my House,' " Adams said.
You can decide which one is the bigger April Fool in that joke.
The Arizona Capitol Times has this to add. After all-night session, House finally passes budget:
Critics countered the Republicans’ boast that their balanced budget does not raise taxes is disingenuous.
By shifting some financial responsibilities to counties and cutting government funding to institutions that are also partly funded by the counties – community colleges and K-12 schools – local governments may have to raise property taxes to cover those costs, they argued.
“Meanwhile, the majority party gets to dance around here saying we balanced the budget without raising taxes,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix. “This is a farce.”
Or a new definition of "trickle down" economics.