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Arizona House Democrats Say Their Budget Priorities Are Ignored By Republicans

Responding to the House speaker’s pledge to involve them in the budget process, top Democrats in the Arizona Legislature say their spending priorities are still being largely ignored by Republicans at the State Capitol.

Earlier this week, Speaker J.D. Mesnard promised inclusivity in the process and asked Democrats for their feedback on the coming year budget.

House minority leader Rebecca Rios said she is grateful that Mesnard has reached across the aisle, but that a chasm remains over the issue of raising teacher salaries.

“We’ve come up with a way to give teachers a 4 percent raise, this year," Rios said. "We have identified $136 that can be used to address the 8,000 number teacher shortage. That’s a non-starter with them. So, is it truly a negotiation? No.”

Crafted by GOP leaders, the House’s $9.8 billion budget gives teachers a 1 percent raise in the next fiscal year.

The governor’s proposal gives teachers a 2 percent raise over four years.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This headline has been updated to correct the branch of Arizona Legislature,

Phil Latzman is an award-winning digital journalist and broadcast professional with over 25 years of experience covering news and sports on a multitude of platforms.