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House OKs budget over Republican objections

Despite most of the majority Republicans voting against a bulk of the bills, the House of Representatives gave final approval to a $10.6 billion state budget approved a day earlier by the Senate.
As many as 21 Republicans voted against the bills June 19, even though caucus leaders had negotiated the budget with other legislative leaders and the governor. Many Republicans were especially upset at what they felt were minimal tax cuts. The final budget included $10 million of tax cuts, mostly for businesses, while an earlier proposal approved by the House contained $63 million of tax relief.
“This is the bone that was thrown our way to keep us pacified,” Rep. Ray Barnes, R-7, said of the tax cut package. “I’m not pacified and I’m still fussing.”
But House Speaker Jim Weiers said the efforts of Republicans earlier in the session to fight for more tax cuts shouldn’t be forgotten, even if the final product wasn’t exactly what was desired.
“People need to understand it’s sometimes the action you take in the beginning you need to be recognized for, not the product at the end,” he said.
Rep. Mark Anderson, R-18, said political realities dictated the budget terms this year. While Republicans significantly outnumbered Democrats in the House in recent years, they hold only a 33-27 advantage this year.
“At some point you realize reality sets in and you have to do the best you can,” he said. “Until things change, this is the best we can do.”
The budget, which is expected to be signed by Gov. Janet Napolitano in the coming days, represents a 2.3 percent growth in spending over the budget approved last year and includes funding for improving teacher salaries, state employee pay raises, developing Arizona’s technology economy and accelerating highway construction.

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