Resolution to State Budget Battle May Be in Sight

Apr 4, 2014

A deal to finally resolve the fight over the budget may be hung up on who is supposed to make the next move. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

State Senate President Andy Biggs

House Speaker Andy Tobin said Thursday the plan he worked out with Gov. Jan Brewer restores the full $5.5 million in new funds for the state’s three universities his members want. But, the request for $33 million in aid to district-run charter schools is now closer to $25 million. And gone are House-passed requests to have the state’s Medicaid program cover care by chiropractors and podiatrists, items the Senate wanted cut. Senate President Andy Biggs said he’s not saying ‘no’ to the plan because he needs to see not only the details, but proof that Tobin can deliver the necessary votes.

“What I told him is, ‘You get your votes, you get your amendment language, please get it to us so we can review it and see what it looks like and the impacts it has.’ And then we’ll shop it to our members,” Biggs said.

But, Tobin said Biggs already has what he needs — including the names of enough Republican House members willing to vote for the $9.23 billion deal.

“He did ask for that, which I thought was interesting because really what we had was we had a number of members who he was concerned would fall off if we moved the number. And they didn’t. So he wanted to know that. So we gave him what he wanted,” Tobin said.

But, Biggs remained steadfast that he wants more, including the actual final version of any plan. And that means no action before Monday.