Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Senate President Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, is taking the budget into his own hands.
The Senate released a budget made up of 10 bills addressing the budget Tuesday. Along with the budget, the Senate also released SB1493, an elections omnibus that is packed with the controversial election bills that would limit who can pick up early ballots and make the Permanent Early Voting List a use-it-or-lose-it situation.
This was an uncoordinated effort, said House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Prescott Valley, who added that he didn't know what was in Biggs' budget.
"We don't usually move budgets by ourselves," Tobin said. "It's good to be the Senate President."
The bills will go through the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday.
The release of this budget marks "the beginning of the end," Gov. Jan Brewer said.
Medicaid expansion is notably absent from the Senate budget.
It's likely a Medicaid amendment will crop up on the Senate floor.
Brewer, who wouldn't comment on whether she'd veto a budget that didn't include Medicaid, said her staff is still analyzing the budget but it looks similar to what she asked for except for Medicaid.
"I am just grateful that we have things on the table," Brewer said.
Tobin sent out his own proposal for Medicaid to House majority members today. His plan would send the question of whether or not to expand Medicaid to the voters. Asked whether this is a sincere attempt at expanding Medicaid or a fake attempt, Tobin said: "I don't fake anything."
Brewer said she doesn't support sending Medicaid to the ballot. She said she thinks Medicaid is complex and she'd prefer to avoid a difficult campaign for it during the hot summer.