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GOP ‘skinny budget’ passes after last week’s surprise rejection

By: - February 13, 2023 3:34 pm

Photo via Getty Images

The Republican-led “skinny budget” passed its final hurdle Monday in the Arizona House of Representatives after a brief roadblock last week when a Republican unexpectedly stymied efforts by the GOP majority to pass a spending package that is doomed for Gov. Katie Hobbs’ veto stamp. 

Last week, Rep. Liz Harris, R-Chandler, surprised Republican leaders when she voted against a 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. 

But on Monday, she changed her position and voted for the spending package. 


Harris released a statement last week that her support on any budget would be contingent on $5 billion in cuts in state spending. Those cuts are not in the version of the budget she supported Monday, and she did not respond to a request for comment on what led her to change her vote. 

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.” 

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, before Hobbs announced her spending priorities for the year, Republican lawmakers said they would only negotiate with the Democratic governor 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 has already signaled that she intends to veto the budget plan, calling it a “hollow political stunt” that lacked “bipartisan input or negotiating.” 

Democratic members stated their disappointment on the floor with the budget, asking for their Republican colleagues to negotiate with them. 

“The invitation to negotiate has and always will be open to those willing to compromise. But if the GOP message is ‘my way or the highway,’ get ready for the highway,” House Democratic Leader Andrés Cano told his colleagues. 

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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Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
Jerod MacDonald-Evoy

Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joined the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.