PHOENIX — Following the lead of the State Senate, the Arizona House is moving toward adopting a $12.8 billion budget for the next fiscal year.
It includes a 2.5% flat tax which permanently removes $1.9 billion from the state’s general fund.
Governor Ducey weighed in after the House passed the flat tax saying “it ensures working families and all Arizona taxpayers get to spend their money how they choose, and it will help our state stay competitive so we can continue to attract good-paying jobs.”
The budget dedicates money to buying back state buildings and paying down the debt. It increases spending for public safety, infrastructure and education. Money for Cities and Counties will also increase.
The House was supposed to vote on the budget Tuesday. But Democrats refused to show up after dozens of amendments by Republicans were dropped on their desks 90 minutes before the session was to begin. Republicans did not have enough members present in the chamber to proceed.
That was not the case Thursday.
In response to the Democrat's actions, Republicans set time limits on each bill quickening the pace but not the outcome of the vote. All the appropriation bills passed on 31-29 party-line vote.
Like the Senate on Tuesday, Republicans in the House adopted amendments to secure the needed vote. Among the amendments, preventing ASU from requiring students and staff from being required to either be tested or vaccinated for COVID 19. A series of election bills tied to unfounded claims of voter fraud were also included in the budget.
The House is yet to vote on an amendment punishing educators and school districts if they teach critical race theory and another one which increases the eligibility for school vouchers to approximately 80% of Arizona school children. Those amendments are tied to the K-12 appropriations bill.
Once the budget is passed and any differences between the House and Senate are worked out, it goes to the Governor’s desk.