Arizona budget battle: Republican lawmakers block deal

Friday could be the decision day in Arizona's budget battle.

Lawmakers debated through Friday afternoon; many are poised to block the $9.1 billion budget deal that was negotiated by Governor Doug Ducey and Republican leaders.

Gov. Ducey is having trouble convincing people in his own party to support his budget. A handful of Republican lawmakers and more than 1,000 protesters are voicing their opposition.

The proposed budget calls for slashing more than $100 million from state universities and eliminates state funding for several community college districts.

Still, Ducey says he feels good about the budget plan and is hopeful it will pass.

"I really believe this is the job that needs to be done, this is the budget I feel good about, and we're pushing forward but I know it's not going to please everyone," said Gov. Ducey.

But will it please enough lawmakers to pass?

As Senate and House leaders continued to debate Friday, many have become doubtful that it will.

"It could be a long day, it could be a lot of sitting around and waiting because I don't hear that the leadership and the Governor have the votes," said Senator Steve Farley.

Farley says the voices of teachers, students, and business leaders are being heard.

Hundreds of protesters descended on the Capitol Thursday speaking out against the proposed budget. A budget that would increase spending on K-12 education, but slash more than $100 million from universities and community colleges. It appears Arizona lawmakers are listening.

"Senators and Reps on the Republican side have already turned based on the impact they're hearing from people's voices," said Farley.

Still Gov. Ducey doesn't appear to be swayed by the crowds.

FOX 10 asked the Governor about the more than 1,000 protesters last night at the State Capitol. 

"Well we've got a budget to balance, Arizona's got a problem. I along with others were elected to solve it, and that's what we're focused on," said Ducey.

So is it back to the drawing board since it appears the Governor may not get enough votes for his plan? 

"We're working on it, this is the process, we're excited and we're very hopeful," he said.

Lawmakers had hoped to pass the budget bill by Friday, March 6.
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