On the afternoon of May 27, 2021, the Arizona Senate adjourned until June 10 because the Republicans don’t have the votes to pass their budget, which was created behind closed doors by a handful of their members.
ORIGINAL POST from earlier that day:
As I reported yesterday, some Arizona Republicans are feeling the heat from constituents on their horrible budget, the $1.5 bullion in tax cuts (primarily benefiting the wealthy), and the flat tax. What do they expect when an extremist budget crafted behind closed doors by handful of Republicans is revealed to the media and the voters? Of course, people will be outraged￼. Republicans have their tax cut blinders on. They are ignoring so many needs that could be funded with the money we now have.
On May 26, the House adjourned until June 10 because the Republicans did not have the votes to cram the budget through both houses in the middle of the night (standard operating procedure for Arizona Republicans). This is historic! Stopping the budget process because Republicans are in disarray has not happened in years.
After adjournment, there was a kerfuffle on social media with Senate President Karen Fann saying that the House did not do the motion to adjourn properly. Ironically, we were told￼ that Speaker Rusty Bowers met separately with both Governor Doug Ducey and Fann yesterday to tell them the bad news and that Fann gave him the adjournment language. Who knows?
As I write this on May 27, the Senate is in lunch recess. So far today, they are following the House’s path from yesterday. We started a little late, we passed some terrible bills, we killed one bad bill, we recessed for lunch, and 3.5 hours later they told us we would adjourn until Friday, which was subsequently changed to June 10.
Will the Senate pass the budget today? Who knows? We know that Senators Paul Boyer and Michelle Ugenti-Rita were “off the budget” yesterday.￼ The media reported that Boyer does not like the flat tax, and Ugenti-Rita identifies as a “fiscal conservative” and doesn’t like the extra spending.
There is a similar situation in the House with Republican members off the budget for different reasons. Majority Leader and architect of the tax giveaway package Ben Toma insisted in caucus that if you’re really a Republican, you will gladly vote for the flat tax.￼
Rep. Jake Hoffman sent his Republican colleagues an email ultimatum last week with a list of “pork” (like school funding, road projects, and a few tax giveaways) that need to come out of the budget before they have his vote. Hoffman likes the flat tax; his position is similar to MUR. I have to say that I agree with a couple of the pork items that Hoffman has listed. Some of the road projects look like they were stuck in there to buy Republican votes. We have been given no rationale for why these particular roads have been chosen for improvement over other roads. I didn’t see any roads in Pima County that are slated for improvement, which makes me suspect politics dictated the list, not need. Why don’t we have a comprehensive infrastructure plan to improve roads and bridges rather than one off projects. We have money to put people to work fixing things — like roads, bridges and schools. Also, Hoffman listed the tax break for the military brass and the one for developers as pork. I agree with on select items. Why should retired colonels and generals get $48 million in tax breaks per year when the Housing Trust Fund gets $0?
Reps. David Cook, Joanne Osborne, Kevin Payne, and Walt Blackman are rumored to not like the flat tax because it will hurt cities and towns. The cities and towns will lose millions of dollars in shared revenue with the flat tax. The small rural towns will be devastated.
That is the current status. The situation is fluid.￼￼ The Senate is supposed to go back into session at 2 pm. You can watch live and archived meetings by clicking on Capitol TV at azleg.gov.
PHOTO CAPTION: Teachers know that they have to watch the Arizona Legislature during the budget. This group came to Phoenix for the budget watch this week.