The House and Senate struck a deal on the budget this afternoon.
When the Senate met on the floor, they had named three of their members to a conference committee with the house for the budget negotiations. The three Senators were Sen. Don Shooter (R-Yuma), Sen. Andy Biggs (R-Gilbert) and Sen. Cajero Bedford (D-Tucson). They joined Rep. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills), Rep. Andy Tobin (R-Prescott Valley) and Rep. Eric Meyer (D-Paradise Valley).
In the conference committee the House and the Senate came to an agreement on new amendments to the budget. Instead of the 33 million for charter schools that the House asked for, the committee allotted 24.5 million. They also added 1.5 million for JTEDs, 300,000 for DHS, 4.5 million for university funding and 1 million to help Prescott pay for increased retirement funds.
The democratic senator and representative in the meeting, Cajero Bedford and Meyer respectively, opposed all of the budgets that were presented, but were outvoted. In particular, Meyer was disappointed in the lack of education funding.
“We’re not giving our schools any more than inflation and in some cases we’re cutting their funding and if we want our children to be successful as we come out of this recession we have to begin to invest,” Meyer said.
Both the house and the senate are expected to vote on the bills tonight. The bills only have to go through a third read, not the committee of the whole, which means that further amendments can not be added.