(The Center Square) – Republicans in the Arizona Legislature gaveled out Thursday, unable to agree among their caucus on a final budget.
Lawmakers were told by Republican leadership Thursday afternoon that they couldn’t find common ground that would bring all of their members to vote for Gov. Doug Ducey’s proposed budget that scrapped the state’s progressive income tax structure and replaced it with a flat 2.5%.
Both the House of Representatives and Senate adjourned until June 10 but reserved the option to reconvene sooner should lawmakers reach an agreement.
Senate President Karen Fann told lawmakers Thursday that talks had broken down over the past 12 hours and that keeping members at the Capitol would be futile.
Republicans kept thin majorities after the 2020 general election that saw the state’s 11 Electoral College votes go to President Joe Biden while also electing U.S. Senate challenger Mark Kelly over appointed Republican incumbent Martha McSally. While they maintained control of both state chambers, such thin majorities mean one or two defecting Republican lawmakers can stall any party-line vote.
Democrats responded to the adjournment in a statement, calling the budget stalemate “a disservice to the people of Arizona,” touting their proposed budget that wouldn’t cut taxes and would instead redirect those funds into education and expand Medicaid.
“Republicans have decided to take a vacation instead of working with us to pass a people’s budget,” the party said in a statement. “Arizona doesn’t need more tax cuts that will only help corporations and the wealthiest.”
In caucus meetings, some Republicans demanded the budget include language that would ban schools from requiring students wear masks when they return to class next fall. Others thought the $1.5 billion tax cut was too drastic and should be split between a smaller tax cut and spending on public infrastructure and paying down debt. Sen. Paul Boyer, R-Glendale, told The Associated Press on Thursday morning that the budget needed major changes before he would support it.