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Arizona lawmakers begin hearings on state budget plan

State Budget Education
Ross D. Franklin/AP
Randy Parraz, Executive Director of the Arizona Education Association (AEA), speaks during a news conference at the Arizona capitol as Tuesday, June 21, 2022, in Phoenix. The Arizona Legislature on Tuesday began considering a $15.6 billion state budget package that pays down more than $1.2 billion in state debt but keeps in place most of a nearly $800 budget gimmick from the Great Recession, boosts road construction, border security and other spending but falls short of what education advocates say is needed to fund K-12 public schools. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature has started hearings on a long-delayed state budget plan.

But the GOP budget deal was immediately panned by some Democrats and public school advocates for failing to use a huge surplus to significantly boost school funding.

And the plan remains incomplete, short of votes and without a clear path to the finish line.

The $17.9 billion spending plan must be in place by July 1 to avoid a near-complete shutdown of state government.

The Senate and House have delayed taking up a budget plan for nearly three months because some Republicans have demanded more school spending, while others demanded less.