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Arizona Senate passes state budget overnight, headed to split House vote

Ducey: 'I look forward to signing this budget once the Arizona House of Representatives votes and it reaches my desk.'

PHOENIX, Arizona — The Arizona State Senate passed the state's more than $12 billion budget plan early Wednesday morning, Gov. Doug Ducey's office said.

The highly-debated budget includes the largest tax cut in state history.

What's in the budget?

Gov. Ducey previously issued an ultimatum to the state's lawmakers on May 28, vetoing almost two dozen bills and threatening to keep vetoing bills until the state's budget was passed.

The ultimatum was issued by Ducey after a week of delays by the GOP-controlled Legislature as leaders tried to get enough votes to pass a budget they negotiated with the governor.

The proposed flat tax included in the state budget would be pocket change for most Arizona taxpayers, according to an analysis Wednesday by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, the Legislature's independent budget, and spending watchdog. 

12 News verified that Arizona taxpayers making under $50,000 could receive between $2 and $39 under the budget's centerpiece, a flat tax being debated in behind-the-scenes negotiations over the new state budget. Earners making over $200,000 could see reductions from $3,000 to more than $7,000.

Arizona cities are pushing back furiously against the $1.7 billion in cuts. They project deep losses in state shared revenue, which helps pay for basic services like public safety.

MORE HERE: Arizona flat tax would shower richest with cuts, new report shows. Here's what's in it for you

The budget's other priorities also show what Gov. Ducey values, including:

  • A $200 million tax cut next year, escalating to $600 million by 2024.
  • A $32 individual public safety fee on your car registration.
  • $10 million in grants for charter school buses.
  • $390 million K-12 student tutoring.
  • No new money to boost the state's second-lowest-in-the-nation jobless benefits. 

RELATED: What Gov. Ducey's proposed budget tells us about what he values

"[The budget] delivers unprecedented tax relief to working families and small businesses, it pays down state debt, and it continues to invest in our schools and infrastructure so we can keep Arizona competitive," the governor's office said.

What's next for the budget?

The budget must now be passed by the state's House of Representatives, but it may have a difficult time doing so.

House Democrats stopped debate on the budget just hours before the state Senate passed the budget due to what they say is a plan that doesn't do enough when it comes to education and infrastructure.

"The Republican plan does not reflect Democratic input, retaliates against teachers and voters because of the 2020 election results, and includes extensive last-minute changes only unveiled this morning that will hamstring future legislatures from addressing the needs of our growing state," House Democrats said in a press release.

Republicans hold a majority in the state's House. The budget can still be passed on partisan lines, without a single Democrat vote, If all 31 House Republicans show up.

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