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House budget fails

The House budget appears to have foundered, as the general appropriations bill failed on a floor vote May 15. The 27-31 vote came after the bill, H2781, was amended by Democrats during floor debate.
While House Majority Leader Tom Boone, R-4, blamed the amendment for the bill’s failure, Speaker Jim Weiers said he didn’t know why the bill was rejected.
“You never know the outcome until the outcome is done,” he said.
The Democrat amendment removed a provision from the bill that would have transferred $62 million from the general construction account to the State Transportation Acceleration Needs, or STAN, account to speed construction of highways. Democrats and a handful of Republicans supported the amendment because it would allow rural areas to receive more money.
One Republican said she voted against the bill because her leaders tried to fast-track the bills today and left little time for lawmakers to evaluate the budget proposal and debate it.
“The process, I thought, was horrible,” Rep. Lucy Mason, R-1, said. “My vote was a vote against the rush as much as anything else.”
“I found that the process was lacking.”
House Minority Leader Phil Lopes, D-27, said it’s unclear what the next step in passing a budget will be, but said he still supports the Senate budget package, which was negotiated with legislative Democrats and Gov. Janet Napolitano.
Likewise, Weiers said he didn’t know what the next step would be and said the House would wait for the Senate to pass its budget. The upper chamber is expected to act on its budget package May 16.
Republicans opposing the bill on the vote were: Andy Biggs, R-22; Jennifer Burns, R-25; Eddie Farnsworth, R-22; Trish Groe, R-3; Pete Hershberger, R-26; and Mason.

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