All skinny budget bills fail in House Appropriations Committee - AZEdNews
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All skinny budget bills fail in House Appropriations Committee


The House Appropriations Committee Discusses The 12 Skinny Budget Bills On April 20, 2022. Photo Courtesy Arizona Capitol Television

Updated April 20, 2022: All 12 skinny budget bills failed in the House Appropriations Committee today after Republicans Rep. Jake Hoffman and Rep. Michelle Udall joined Democratic committee members to vote against the measures with 6 aye votes and 7 nay votes. The House and Senate are now adjourned until Monday, April 25.

While explaining their votes against the skinny budget bills, Rep. Hoffman said government already spends too much, while Rep. Udall said the budget bills do not address several key issues.

Arizona Capitol Television: House Appropriations Committee – 4/20/2022

Lawmakers were considering what is called a skinny budget.

All skinny budget bills fail in House Appropriations Committee Chuck-Essigs-portrait
Dr. Chuck Essigs

“This skinny state budget would have a continuation of this year’s budget for fiscal year 2022 with an adjustment for inflation and growth,” said Dr. Chuck Essigs, director of governmental relations for Arizona Association of School Business Officials.

“The  legislative concept is if they passed a skinny budget – a big if – they could continue the legislative session to pass more bills and think about what to do with the $5 billion of additional state dollars that are still available to fund additional state dollars that are still available to fund additional state programs or to cut taxes,” Dr. Essigs said.

House Bill 2850 is the budget bill funding K-12 public education as part of this skinny budget, includes the 2% inflation increase in funding required by state law, which has no relation to the actual inflation Arizonans are experiencing now, Dr. Essigs said.

It also includes the growth funding schools receive that reflects increases and decreases in student enrollment, Dr. Essigs said.

Click on the budget bill numbers below to check on their progress through the Legislature and then the on documents tab to read the contents of each bill:

HB2841general appropriations act; 2022-2023
HB2842amusements; 2022-2023
HB2843state budget implementation; 2022-2023
HB2844capital outlay; appropriations; 2022-2023
HB28452022-2023 budget; courts
HB2846environment; 2022-2023
HB28472022-2023 budget; health
HB2848higher education; 2022-2023
HB2849human services; 2022-2023
HB28502022-2023 budget; K-12 education
HB2851local government; 2022-2023
HB2852management of state buildings; 2022-2023

House Bill 2850, the K-12 public education bill, would increase base level funding to $4,478.46 per pupil for fiscal year 2023 and increase charter school additional assistance to $1,935.86 per pupil for students in preschool programs for children with disabilities, kindergarten programs and first- through eighth-grades and to $2,256.21 per pupil for students in ninth- through twelfth-grades.

House Bill 2850 also includes a legislative intent clause relating to classroom spending that states, “The governor and the legislature intend that school districts increase the total percentage of classroom spending over the previous year’s percentages in the combined categories of instruction, student support and instructional support as prescribed by the auditor general.”

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House Education Chair Michelle Udall discusses a bill on the House Floor on April 19, 2022. Photo courtesy Arizona Capitol Television

It would also increase the amount of state support for student transportation per route mile from $2.77 to $2.83 for 0.5 or less approved daily route mileage per eligible student transported; from $2.27 to $2.32 for more than 0.5 through 1.0 approved daily route mileage per eligible student transported; and from $2.77 to $2.83 for more than 1.0 approved daily route mileage per eligible student transported. 

In addition, House Bill 2850 would establish the qualifying tax rate for tax year 2022 at $1.7133 for a high school district or a common school district within a high school district that does not offer instruction in high school subjects; $3.4266 for a unified school district, a common school district not within a high school district or a common school district within a high school district that offers instruction in high school subjects.

The K-12 public education budget bill would also adjust the state equalization assistance property tax rate in tax year 2022 to $0.4128.

House Bill 2850 also includes provisions for the Results-Based Funding Fund for fiscal year 2023 that would directs the Arizona Department of Education to distribute Results-Based Funding Fund monies to each school operated by a school district or charter holder at $225 per student count if the school had fewer than 60% of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, or an equivalent measure, when the spring 2021 statewide assessment was administered, and performed in the top 13% of all schools on the spring 2021 statewide assessment.

Schools could receive $400 per student count if the school had at least 60% of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, or an equivalent measure, at the time the spring 2021 statewide assessment was administered, and performed in the top 13% of schools that had at least 60% of students eligible for FRPL, or an equivalent measure, on the spring 2021 statewide assessment.

The bill also directs the Arizona Department of Education to distribute Results-Based Funding Fund monies of $225 per student count if the school had at least 60% of students eligible for FRPL, or an equivalent measure, at the time the spring 2021 statewide assessment was administered, and the school performed in the top 27% but not top 13% of schools that had at least 60% of students eligible for FRPL, or an equivalent measure, on the spring 2021 statewide assessment.

Also, schools could receive $400 per student count for each alternative high school that performed in the top 27% of schools that had at least 60% of students eligible for FRPL, or an equivalent measure, on the spring 2021 statewide assessment. Session law stipulates an alternative high school is only eligible for Results-Based Fund monies if it reports the average percentage of students who obtained a passing score on the spring 2021 statewide assessment.


House Appropriations Committee Chair Regina Cobb began the meeting by saying that this budget is a continuation of what we’ve had in the past so would be limiting discussion to three people for and three people against because shouldn’t be that much discussion on a skinny budget that was approved last year.

“It is three days before a 100-day session is supposed to be ending and we don’t have any path forward,” House Appropriations Chair Cobb said. “This is a pathway forward. It doesn’t mean it is the final appropriations that are ever going to be in this session, but it could be.”

“This is not saying that this is something that I feel is the only way that we could do this, but it is saying this is a path forward and this it he path I’m presenting to you today,” House Appropriations Chair Cobb said.

Arizonans need additional investments in affordable housing infrastructure as well as public education, workforce development, small businesses, family medical leave and more state dollars toward public education, which this bare bones budget does not provide, said Natalya Brown with Creosote Partners on behalf of Arizona Center for Empowerment.

“Arizona’s communities are experiencing unprecedented levels of inflation with the cost of housing up 7% above the nationwide average. More and more Arizonans are facing the threat of evictions and being displaced from their homes, yet the state budget proposal does nothing to provide solutions to our renters, homeowners and houseless communities facing housing instability at this time,” Brown said.

“We are urging you to reject this empty budget proposal and work toward using your $5 billion surplus and your positions of power to create an economy that puts people first,” Brown said.

Rep. Lorenzo Sierra asked if the budget surplus estimated at $5 billion now would continue to grow next quarter, and Chair Cobb said it’s a forecast and if there is a downturn that number could change.

Rep. Judy Schwiebert asked why the budget was using January surplus estimates of about $3 billion and not the April estimate of $5 billion, and Chair Cobb said the budget uses January numbers to be consistent with the forecasts used to develop the previous year’s budget.

“This is just a baseline in the event that we can come to an agreement,” Appropriations Vice Chair Rep. John Kavanagh said.

“People are hurting today,” Rep. Sierra said.

“I have been working on this budget since June of last year,” Chair Cobb said. “If we can do a grander package I would be thrilled to spend some of the surplus this year.”

All skinny budget bills fail in House Appropriations Committee Screen-Shot-2022-04-20-at-3.12.48-PM-1024x508
Brenden Foland with Arizona Education Association speaks against the general appropriations bill on April 20, 2022 at the House Appropriations Committee. Photo courtesy Arizona Capitol Television

“We feel that leaving $5 billion dollars on the table is a disservice to our students,” said Brenden Foland with Arizona Education Association. “We have serious issues that public education is facing after years of underfunding, after years of pandemic, our students have many issues.”

That money could make a real difference for our students with supports for mental health and learning loss, but this budget does not do that, Foland said.

“I just want to understand how the budget is contemplating funding for education, which is a huge part of our budget and we are basing this on pandemic numbers from last year,” Rep. Kelli Butler said.

“We have a divide on both sides of this aisle,” Chair Cobb said as she explained her vote for the general appropriations bill. “There’s people who did a lot of work to get things done in this session.”

“Last year, June 29th is when we passed a budget,” Chair Cobb said. “Was it the best budget? Absolutely not. It was not. We went to court, lost pages of what was in that budget because we didn’t do a good budget. This is my attempt and I’m going to continue attempting to get something done so that we can at least give assurances and possibly move the needle. We’re not moving the needle today.”

The general appropriations bill and the other 11 budget bills failed to pass the House Appropriations Committee today with votes of 6 ayes and 7 nays.

In other action, SB 1327 alternative assessment advisory committee sponsored by Sen. Nancy Barto, and SB 1654 schools; seizure management; treatment plans sponsored by Sen. Sine Kerr, were approved on third reading on the House floor, and both bills now head to Gov. Doug Ducey.

HB 2034 CTEDs; associate degrees sponsored by Rep. Michelle Udall was approved on third reading on the Senate floor, and the bill heads back to the House for concurrence on the Senate amendments that require all CTED associate degree programs to apply for regional accreditation.

All skinny budget bills fail in House Appropriations Committee Screen-Shot-2022-04-20-at-12.07.15-PM-1024x466
Rep. Myron Tsosie presents his amendment to a bill on the House Floor at the Arizona Capitol on April 19, 2022. Photo courtesy of Arizona Capitol Television

April 19, 2022

Budget bills were introduced in the Arizona House of Representatives on Monday, April 18, and the 12 bills are expected to be discussed and voted on later this week.

All skinny budget bills fail in House Appropriations Committee Chris-Kotterman
Chris Kotterman

The bills would continue last year’s budget and include what is required to level-fund state government from year to year with only changes required by formulas and law, such as the 2% inflation increase to K-12 education funding formulas, said Chris Kotterman, director of governmental relations for Arizona School Boards Association.

Click on the budget bill numbers below to check on their progress through the Legislature and then the on documents tab to read the contents of each bill:

HB2841general appropriations act; 2022-2023
HB2842amusements; 2022-2023
HB2843state budget implementation; 2022-2023
HB2844capital outlay; appropriations; 2022-2023
HB28452022-2023 budget; courts
HB2846environment; 2022-2023
HB28472022-2023 budget; health
HB2848higher education; 2022-2023
HB2849human services; 2022-2023
HB28502022-2023 budget; K-12 education
HB2851local government; 2022-2023
HB2852management of state buildings; 2022-2023

With primary elections coming up in August, Legislative leadership may be seeking to wrap up the budget earlier this session, and leave time more for candidates to campaign, but that isn’t sitting well with all lawmakers.

All skinny budget bills fail in House Appropriations Committee Screen-Shot-2022-04-20-at-11.59.15-AM-1024x472
House Minority Leader Rep. Reginald Bolding discusses bills during a House floor session at the Arizona Capitol on April 19, 2022. Photo courtesy of Arizona Capitol Television

Currently, there is not enough support yet among Republican Legislators to pass the budget bills without Democratic Legislators who have expressed their concerns about the bills.

Republicans hold slim majorities in both the House and Senate. A few Republican Legislators have expressed concerns about the budget bills.

House Education Chair Paul Boyer has said that unless yearly K-12 education funding is raised by $900 million to $1 billion to honor Arizona voters who approved the Invest in Ed initiative that was later struck down by the courts, he will not support a Republican plan to repeal and replace the tax cuts passed last year that would avoid a voter referendum on the issue, KJZZ FM 91.5 reports.

The tax cuts approved last year, would save Arizonans earning between $75,000 and $100,000 about $231 a year in state income taxes, while those earning between $500,000 and $1 million a year would save more than $12,000, according to the Legislature’s budget analysts, KJZZ FM 91.5 reports.

Education advocates say more could be done to support students and teachers than what’s in the budget bills now.

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee reported that there is $2.8 billion in one-time funding Legislators would allocate this year and about $1.29 billion in ongoing funding for Legislators’ priorities