State Budget Still Causing Rifts in House

Mar 31, 2014

A promise in writing by the state House to consider more funding for child-welfare could complicate efforts today to approve a new budget. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

Rep. John Kavanagh (left) discusses the state budget with fellow representatives.
Credit Nick Oza, The Republic

The House budget adopted last Thursday added about $54 million to what had been approved by the Senate, though virtually none of that for the new Division of Child Welfare and Family Services. But, Rep. Kate Brophy McGee did House get colleagues to add language saying it is the “intent of the Legislature” that the budget for the agency will be re-examined next month after release of a report studying its problems — and that lawmakers will “provide resources to meet these needs.” Senate President Andy Biggs, who pretty much crafted the legislative spending plan, insists there is commitment for more funding down the road. But, he wants the language gone.

“You don’t need that in there. Go take a look at it and you tell me the logic you see in it. It’s just kind of this, like I said before, it’s an amorphous statement full of sound and fury but without any meaning,” Biggs said.

That stance by the Senate president has left Brophy McGee frustrated.

“Mr. Biggs got pretty much everything he wanted and didn’t want. And I certainly don’t want this to be about … I’m just puzzled, Howie. But, if it doesn’t mean anything, then there should be no harm in staying in there,” Brophy McGee said.

The Senate starts reviewing the House-altered budget this morning.