/ Modified mar 6, 2015 12:41 p.m.

Some Republicans Push Back on State Budget Cuts

Opposition to governor's, legislative leaders' planned reductions grows with protests, denunciations.

030212_AZ_Week_Capitol_617x347 Arizona Capitol.
AZPM Staff

Updated Friday, March 6 at 12:30 p.m.

Budget bills passed the House Rules Committee on party lines Friday, which sets them up for a full chamber vote.

Opposition within the Republican party is growing. Rep. Brenda Barton R-Payson questioned cuts to counties and education via Twitter.

"The budget as presented appears to ask too much of those who are least able to accommodate it. I'm sure there are other options available," Barton tweeted.

Hundreds of parents, teachers and students protested at the state Capitol in Phoenix and outside the State Office Building in Tucson Thursday. In Tucson, a group of school superintendents and community and business leaders called a news conference to protest cuts and proposals to shift more money to classrooms.

Steve Pierce portrait State Sen. Steve Pierce, R-Prescott.

Meanwhile, the Senate and House appropriations committees were set Friday to mull a budget plan that would add K-12 funding but with little inflation adjustment as required by law and with $104 million in cuts for the three state universities.

Cuts were also included for key welfare programs, including Medicaid payments to hospitals.

Ducey and legislative leaders have said the state simply doesn't have enough revenue to cover everything, even taking more than $100 million out of the state's rainy day fund. The fund has more than $450 million in it.

State Sen. Steve Pierce, R-Prescott, said he did not think there were enough Republican votes in the Senate to pass the $9.1 billion budget proposal.

Pierce, a former state Senate president and an outspoken supporter of higher education, said at least five of 17 Senate Republicans do not support the deal. With all Democrats opposed, that would be enough to block the budget.

Two years ago, Pierce was among five Republican senators who formed a coalition with Democrats to help pass then Gov. Jan Brewer's Medicaid expansion proposal in the face of opposition from Republican legislative leadership.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
AZPM is a service of the University of Arizona and our broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents who hold the trademarks for Arizona Public Media and AZPM. We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples.
The University of Arizona