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Budget Tax Cuts Move Forward In Arizona Legislature

The $11.8 billion state budget cleared its first hurdles Wednesday as the package of spending and tax cuts was approved by a pair of legislative panels.

Democrats failed in their bid to fully restore money to an account school districts can use for books, computers and buses. The approved plan adds $130 million, but GOP leadership said the promised $203 million will have to wait.

Rep. Aaron Lieberman, D-Phoenix, said the priorities need to shift.

"We easily could restore all of the district additional assistance if we're willing to put our schools first and invest in the students and before we get into these risky tax offsets," he said.

The plan is not expected to gain much — if any — Democratic support. However it did win over one Republican holdout: Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita, who has been opposed to a $32 vehicle registration fee.

The current proposal would phase-out that fee by 2021.

The plan still doesn’t have full Republican support, and the deadline to pass a budget is July 1.

Howard Fischer with Capitol Media Services joined The Show to talk about the details.

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Claire Caulfield first joined KJZZ as an intern in 2015 and now wakes up before the sun to produce and report for Morning Edition. She graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2017 and covered education policy in the nation's capital, election night in New York City and Native American issues for Cronkite News/ Arizona PBS. Before joining the Morning Edition team, she also worked on a documentary about rap music in the deep South and directed a film on drinking-water quality in the United States.On the weekends, you can find Claire flying her photography drone or working her way through the Pulitzer Prize book list.