(UPDATED) Do you Believe in Miracles? Arizona Democrats and Republicans Reach Bipartisan Deal on Budget

Habemus Bipartisan Budget Deal!

We have a bipartisan budget deal.

For the first time since Janet Napolitano was Governor of Arizona, Democrats and Republicans have banded together to approve a budget for the Grand Canyon State.

While all the votes are not yet completed and all the details not released, this is what can be reported so far.

Republicans, lacking support from their own caucus to pass a budget on their own, needed to find support from the Democrats to secure the necessary votes to pass the budget.

Democrats, according to reporting from the Arizona Daily Star and AZ Central, and sources from the Capitol were able to obtain:

  • Millions in increased funding in education at the base support level ($526 million,) special education, opportunity weights for economically disadvantaged, and Additional District Assistance. Unfortunately, the accounting gimmick of doing away with the state equalization property tax stayed.
  • Major investments in the three state Universities.
  • Four million dollars for the Secretary of State to help oversee the  2022 elections.
  • A boost to the Housing Trust Fund ($60 million) which will assist the homeless and other residentially insecured in staying and finding homes.
  • Greater assistance for the developmentally disabled.

More details will follow.

The Border wall and voucher expansion proposed by Republicans will not be included in this budget. They will be handled on separate votes. A version of the voucher bill did pass the House yesterday.

Saying “this is what compromise looks like,” Democratic House Leader Reginald Bolding spoke on the House floor, stating “this is what our state -where voters are nearly evenly divided by party affiliation has long asked of us. To work together. There are things we like. There are things we don’t like. There are things we love and quite frankly, there are things we hate about this budget. But weighed together, the good in this budget, finally outweighs the bad. We must not let perfect be the enemy of the good. At the end of the day, this is a significant step forward for Arizona families, who have been looking to us for years. It’s an investment in our economic future and in our current workforce and that will keep our growing state strong and competitive.” 

In a joint press release issued after the final vote, Senate Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios offered:

“From the beginning, it was my hope and the hope of every Arizonan, that this body would come together – both parties – to craft a budget that moves this state forward. Thankfully, that hope was realized tonight.
Frankly, a majority of this budget does not align with the priorities of Democrats. However, the opportunity to truly invest in our public education and secure a brighter future for Arizona students cannot be overlooked.
Arizona needs a budget now, but we recognize the desperate need for future years of quality budgeting to heal decades of leadership shortcomings in our state. Tonight, is a victory – small but impactful.”

More information and reaction to this mornings historic events will follow in later articles.