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GOP lawmakers approve $8.6B spending plan (updated) (access required)

Republican leaders quickly consolidated support behind an $8.6 billion budget plan and gave it final approval today, less than a week after finally reaching a deal with Gov. Jan Brewer.

The spending plan is a product of a session-long negotiation between Brewer and legislative leaders, and the give-and-take between the two sides is palpable throughout the budget document.

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Budget doc reveals money stashed for ‘rainy days’ ahead

Lawmakers and the governor plan to set aside $450 million to offset anticipated deficits in the state budget in two years.

That’s money that won’t be available for critical needs now, but depositing it in the state’s “rainy day” fund reaffirms a fiscally conservative outlook that has dominated the Capitol following the fiscal crisis that led to several years of incessant budget slashing.

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GOP compromise budget gives $450M to rainy day fund, $7M to tourism (access required)

As Republican lawmakers begin to receive briefings on the budget deal that GOP leaders and the Governor’s Office agreed to in principle April 25, details are beginning to emerge.

The major sticking point between the two sides has been revenue projections — not just for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1, but also for the following two years. Though Gov. Jan Brewer had been unwilling to adopt the Legislature’s more cautious revenue estimates, it appears she had a change of mind.

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Republican budget talks moving again (access required)

Gov. Jan Brewer and legislative leaders resumed talks on the budget Thursday, three days after the governor told them to stop sending her bills until they get the state’s spending plan completed.

The meeting seemed to reaffirm the two sides’ commitment to negotiate the state budget within the Republican Party. The meeting came as some GOP lawmakers considered the possibility of joining with Democrats to pass a veto-proof budget.

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Republicans mulling Dem alliance after veto threat

After weeks of budget talks with no agreement in sight, Gov. Jan Brewer gave legislative leaders an ultimatum, telling them she would veto bills until work on the state’s spending plan is complete.

But rather than force a quicker budget resolution, it could result in more heartburn between the two sides. In fact, there were indications some Republicans might be taking a look at abandoning negotiations with the governor in favor of working with Democrats to ensure a veto-proof super majority behind a budget.

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