At Saturday's meeting of the House Appropriations Committee, scheduled to hear the budget "compromise" between the Republican Governor and the Republican leadership in the legislature, the budget bills passed, but the bills related to the tax policy changes (impose a flat income tax, referendum on a sales tax hike) were skipped by committee chairman John Kavanagh (R-LD8).
Apparently, they are having absolutely no problems lining up Republican members in support of the proposed deep cuts to education, human services, and infrastructure. However, support for a tax hike, or even simply referring a tax hike to the voters, has proven much harder to come by.
It seems that enough of the Republican rank-and-file (and leadership??) in the lege are balking that there aren't enough votes to pass the entire compromise package through either chamber, making it likely that they may have to seek Democratic support for this travesty.
And speaking as a Democratic PC and State Committee member, they'd better not get any without some *serious* improvements to the package.
House Appropriations will meet on Monday at 11 a.m. in HHR1 to consider the three tax-related bills.
Over in the Senate, the Senate Appropriations Committee will meet on Monday at 9:30 a.m. in SHR1 to consider the Senate's versions of the bills that House Approps considered on Saturday.
Interestingly, the Senate Education Committee will meet in SHR109, upon adjournment of Senate Approps, to consider the three tax-related measures.
The difference between the committees?
Senate Appropriations is chaired by uber-winger Russell Pearce, and he is aided and abetted by fellow Kool-Aid drinkers Pam Gorman, Al Melvin, Jack Harper, and Ron Gould.
Senate Education is chaired by John Huppenthal, and he is accompanied by Linda Gray and Jonathan Paton. While none of those three qualifies as "moderate" by any real world standard, by the somewhat skewed standard set by the Republican caucus of the AZ lege, they are somewhat more pliable than their colleagues on Approps.
Both committees have one Rep member in common - Sylvia Allen of LD5.
This is only a guess, but since she is just as hardcore as any of her Approps colleagues (she wouldn't have been put there otherwise), Senate leadership is probably hoping that they can coax or scare one of the three Democrats on the committee (Paula Aboud, Linda Lopez, Leah Landrum Taylor) to support the bills long enough to get them past the committee stage.
As for floor consideration, only the House has any sort of a floor schedule posted so far (four COW calendars, here, here, here, and here). None of them lists any of the budget bills. So far.
More reading on the budget shenanigans/goings-on:
Gila Courier with news of a possible compromise on the compromise (no details yet)
Dave Wells at Make Democracy Work on why a flat tax is a bad idea
Tedski at R-Cubed with a pithy evaluation of the budget "compromise"
Blog For Arizona coverage of Saturday's March4Schools rally at the Capitol