Legislative leaders reach budget agreement with governor

Legislative leaders reach budget agreement with governor

Budget piggy bank

Leaders in the House and Senate say the two chambers have reached an agreement on the budget with Gov. Doug Ducey, and expect to move a proposal this week.

House Speaker Pro Tem Bob Robson and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Don Shooter confirmed that a tentative deal was reached on Saturday and a budget should be introduced and approved this week.

Robson, R-Chandler, said House GOP leadership will brief rank-and-file Republicans on the “understanding” reached between the two chambers’ leaders today. Only if the caucus agrees with the plan will the two chambers have a deal.

Shooter, R-Yuma, said the Senate will likely hold similar meetings Monday afternoon. He said this year’s spending proposal is “totally different” than last year, given surplus revenues the state has for the first time in years.

“I think a lot of people will be surprised by this budget,” Shooter said. “This is the first budget when we’ve had assets to do what we actually want to do.”

Extra spending will include new funding for K-12 schools, Shooter said, though he declined to go into more detail.

Rank-and-file Republicans in the House have been holding out for a handful of spending items over what the Senate proposed in early budget summary documents, including increased spending for the state’s universities, the K-12 school system and infrastructure spending.

House Speaker David Gowan, R-Sierra Vista, took those desires into consideration when negotiating the budget deal with the governor’s office and Senate leaders, Shooter said.