Timeline: How budget negotiations are unfolding

Hank Stephenson//April 29, 2016

Timeline: How budget negotiations are unfolding

Hank Stephenson//April 29, 2016


Last year, lawmakers approved a state budget in record-breaking time and adjourned the shortest legislative session since 1968.

But this year, the process is going much slower.

For more than a month, lawmakers in both chambers have been considering budget proposals behind closed doors, starting and stopping negotiations, and itching to finish up the budget and end the legislative session.

The major points of contention have been between the House and Senate, with rank-and-file Republicans in the lower chamber demanding more K-12 education funding than either the Senate, or Republican leadership in the House, has proposed.

Here is how things have developed as of late on April 28.

Thursday, March 24

The Senate issues its first budget spreadsheet outlining the shape of a $9.4 billion fiscal year 2017 spending plan.

Thursday, March 31

The House follows suit, showing rank-and-file Republicans its first budget spreadsheet, which largely mirrors the Senate version.

Friday, April 1

Gov. Doug Ducey issues a bill-signing moratorium, telling lawmakers not to send him any more bills before they finish the budget and grinding legislative action to a near stand-still.

Monday, April 4

News starts to trickle out that a dozen or more House Republicans are unhappy with the Senate’s budget proposal, specifically the K-12 education funding. The Republicans start to demand that House GOP leadership increase funding for K-12 in a handful of key areas designed to hold school districts harmless from cuts proposed by the Governor’s Office and the Senate.

Wednesday, April 6

House Republicans hold a round of small group meetings that leave rank-and-file lawmakers complaining that their leadership is way behind in budget negotiations and the chamber is still in the preliminary phases of discussions.

Monday, April 11

Senators say the chamber’s plan is to approve a budget by the end of the week. Meanwhile, House Republicans who opposed the Senate’s spending plan prepare for a scenario in which a budget is unilaterally approved by the Senate and sent to the House.

Thursday, April 14

Senate President Andy Biggs and House Speaker David Gowan meet to discuss the budget, and Senate leadership backs off rumored plans to forge ahead alone on the budget.

Monday, April 18

Sources with knowledge of the negotiations say budget talks between Biggs and Gowan have stalled, and that both leaders and the governor are all on different pages.

Thursday, April 21

Senate sources say the two chambers are close enough in budget negotiations to begin voting on a budget, and that a budget should begin moving in each chamber on

Monday, April 25

Those arriving at the Capitol are greeted by the news that a framework for a budget deal is in place. But following small-group discussions on the budget, House Republicans file out of the chamber with decidedly long faces. Even some of Gowan’s allies are left shaking their heads in disappointment over the budget agreement presented in small group meetings.

Tuesday, April 26

The Senate introduces budget bills, and Biggs tells reporters his goal is to approve the package by the end of the week.

Wednesday, April 27

The Senate Appropriations Committee approves all 15 budget bills with no amendments, preferring to make changes on the Senate floor. The House introduces budget bills with several slight changes from the Senate version, underscoring the tension that has permeated negotiations between the two chambers.

Thursday, April 28

Negotiations continue with the likelihood that they will drag on into Friday, April 29, and the weekend.