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A single Republican holdout doomed the GOP’s ‘skinny budget’ on Monday
Rep. Liz Harris, R-Chandler, at a Jan. 26, 2023, press conference. Photo by Gage Skidmore (modified) | Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
The Republican-led effort to pass a “skinny budget” has hit a momentary roadblock in the Arizona House of Representatives, where a sole Republican’s refusal to vote for the spending package doomed the budget.
Rep. Liz Harris, R-Chandler, voted no on the first bill that is part of the major Republican budget proposal that merely extends much of the $18 billion budget passed last year for another 12 months. Republicans have a one-vote majority in the chamber, so her opposition meant the bill failed.
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Harris did not respond to multiple requests for comment as to why she voted no on the budget bill. Harris, a local real estate agent turned election “fraud” investigator is most famous for conducting a highly flawed canvass of the presidential election in an attempt to prove voter “fraud.”
Her vote against the GOP spending plan may be the freshman lawmaker following through on a pledge she made late last year that she would not vote for any legislation until the 2022 election is redone. Harris has been a vocal proponent of the false claims that the 2020 and 2022 elections were marred by fraud and rigged against Republicans.
There is no proof of widespread voter fraud.
Harris was joined in voting against the budget by fellow Republican David Livingston, who voted no to allow Republicans to use a procedural move to allow the bill to be reconsidered in the next 14 days.
The Republican budget proposal is a continuation of last year’s bipartisan budget and is being sold by GOP lawmakers as a way to ensure economic stability for the state as the nation is bracing for a possible economic recession.
Last month, Republican lawmakers said they would only negotiate with Hobbs, a Democrat, on state spending after their continuation budget was signed into law. Though they have presented it as a way to ensure state government won’t shut down in July if the two sides fail to agree on a broader budget plan, the practical effect of doing so would all but guarantee a stalemate because there would be no incentive for GOP legislators to agree to spending any of the state’s nearly $2 billion in surplus cash.
Hobbs’ office signaled last week that she intends to veto the budget plan, calling it a “hollow political stunt” that lacked “bipartisan input or negotiating.”
On the floor, Livingston said he was expecting a party-line vote but “not a tie,” as he quickly asked to change his vote in order to make sure there was a path to reconsider the measure. Shortly after, the House recessed and members left for their respective committee assignments.
Last year’s budget was controversial for some Republicans, and several voted against the spending, citing concerns that it was too much money. But all of those returning legislators have voted for this year’s version of the same budget.
Sen. Jake Hoffman, R-Queen Creek, who has been in Arizona Senate promotional videos promoting the GOP “skinny budget,” was among those who rejected the proposal last year. Through a Senate spokeswoman, Hoffman said he supports the spending this year because the proposal doesn’t include roughly $2.3 billion in one-time funding allocations.
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