PHOENIX - In a rare move, 6 Republicans walked down to the pressroom in the League of Cities and Towns to express their dissatisfaction over the stalled budget negotiations on Wednesday.
The group of six, made up of Rep. Ethan Orr (R-Tucson), Rep. Bob Robson (R-Chandler), Rep. Jeff Dial (R-Chandler), Rep. Douglas Coleman (R-Apache Junction), Rep. Kate Brophy McGee (R-Phoenix) and Rep. Heather Carter (R-Cave Creek), had just rejected a counter-offer to their budget proposal because they felt it didn’t meet the state’s needs.
“I think when one side is reaching out, giving you the best offer, and the other side comes back and is playing games and basically says no to everything, then it’s a problem.” Dial said.
The negotiations have stalled because of the differences between the priorities of the six moderates and those of the conservative faction of the Republican Party. The priorities of the moderates is funding for Child Protective Services and K-12 education.
“I truly believe that education, like I say, is an economic development issue that makes us a stronger state, is business friendly and I’m ready to stand up for it.” Coleman said.
The group feels that the current budget doesn’t adequately reflect the needs of children in the state.
“All our budget focus has been around kids and what we believe are the priorities for the future of Arizona,” Carter said. “There are some things that we have seen in the budget that we like but when you look at the budget in totality there are critical items that are missing.”
The conservative faction is concerned with reducing the state’s debt and is cutting significantly from the budget that Gov. Brewer put forward in January.
“We have debt, there’s no question we have debt, but we also have responsibility and it’s a matter of how you measure that and how you weigh it with respect to the budget.” Robson said.
The budget negotiations started in the house on Monday after passing through the senate last week. If the group of six is able to get the 31 votes needed to pass their budget through the house, they’ll still have to convince the senate to pass their version of the deal. With enough votes to block the current budget, the group says that they’re waiting until they get a reasonable counteroffer from the other side of the party.
“I would be at the negotiating table any time they want to sit down and negotiate in good faith,” Dial said. “When they’re not negotiating in good faith then negotiations are over until they want to come back in good faith.”
— Courtesy of the Arizona Sonora News Service —