by Jim Nintzel
It's budget week up at the Capitol! OK, so maybe that doesn't sound all that exciting. Still, the politics behind the spending blueprints in the House and Senate are kinda interesting.
Senate President Tim Bee worked out the Senate bipartisan budget through negotiations with members of both parties, with input from the governor's office. Bee had hoped to get the $10.6 billion wrapped up and sent over the House, where members were supposed to be still squabbling over a budget.
But a funny thing happened to that plan: House Speaker Jim Weiers managed to come up with his own "bipartisan" budget that's heavier on the tax cuts and lighter on the social spending. He's calling the House spending plan bipartisan, because a handful of Democrats who are on the outs with Minority Leader Phil Lopes backed the Weiers plan. One of the rebel Democrats is Tucson's Linda Lopez, who has already been the target of a robocall blasting her for abandoning her team.
Now Howie Fischer of Capitol Media Services is reporting that the Senate budget proposal is getting held up with some last-minute monkey business regarding tax credits for private schools, an amendment sponsored by Sen. John Huppenthal, a Republican from Chandler.
While there are still plenty of bills moving through the grinder up there, the budget is the big piece of business that needs to be resolved before lawmakers can call Sine Die. Our prediction: The final budget will look a lot more like the Senate version than the House version.
More on the budget in next week's ol'-fashioned print edition. Bet you can't wait!