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The Arizona Legislature on Thursday approved a bilateral $ 18 billion spending plan that would significantly invest in public schools, build new roads and pay off long-term debt.

Legislators in the House and Senate ended the months-long stalemate, working all night to approve the budget shortly before sunrise. Only a handful of dissidents from each party voted against the package of bills and Republican Governor Doug Duce is expected to approve it.

“This is our state where voters are almost equally divided by party affiliation – for a long time we have been asked to work together,” said Reginald Bolding of Lavin, a top Democrat in the House.

The unprecedented surplus opened up an improbable bilateralization by $ 5 billion, allowing for a wider range of new costs and savings.

This includes $ 544 million for border security, nearly half the wall and $ 1 billion for highway construction, including the expansion of 10 interstates north of the Casa Grande. State employees will receive an increase for the first time in a decade. Hundreds of millions have been allocated for water infrastructure as the state is facing a chronic drought.

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Republican Gov. Doug Duce is expected to sign the $ 18 billion budget approved by lawmakers on June 23.

Republican Gov. Doug Duce is expected to sign the $ 18 billion budget approved by lawmakers on June 23.

The budget will deposit $ 1.1 billion in the Pension Fund for Public Safety and Correctional Officers, paying off state funding for future retirement benefits. And it will put another $ 425 million in the Rain Day Fund to help the state weather from a potential recession.

It also eliminates the state mobilization tax, property tax for education, and replenishes $ 330 million from the general fund.

The package of budget bills was passed with overwhelming support, making it extremely unusual in the modern age.

Ducey praised the deal, saying its limited spending and regulatory austerity policies would be credited to the surplus, although the huge federal COVID-19 relief money was also a major contributor.

“The result is a thriving economy with record revenues,” Ducey said in a statement. “With this budget, we’re putting those dollars to good use and investing in priorities that Republicans and Democrats alike can accept.”

Republican leaders have struggled for months to come up with a spending plan that would find unanimous support in different GOP caucuses rather than relying on Democrats. A slim majority in both chambers means that opposition from a single Republican legislator is enough to sink the budget if Democrats unite in opposition.

Ironically, GOP leaders were the most traditional legislators in the legislature who were forcibly handcuffed when it blocked early, small spending proposals. After losing support on the right, House Speaker Rusty Bowers and Senate President Karen Fan had to search elsewhere for votes and they found them in the aisle.

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GOP leaders “decided to give up the easy way out, at least the resistance, and spend it,” said Michelle Ugenti-Rita, a Scotsdale Republican senator who voted against the budget.

“The budget is not right and it does not reflect my traditional values,” Eugenti-Rita said.

No one likes the budget after all the compromises have been made, said Senate Majority Leader Rick Gray, R-Sun City.

“Every single budget is bad,” Gray said. “But for me, it’s really encouraging that we’re coming together.”

The plan includes some small, targeted tax deductions for farm machinery and private aircraft but no large-scale deductions. Republicans cut $ 1.7 billion in income tax last year.

GOP and Democratic leaders agreed to add $ 526 million in ongoing new funding for K-12 schools, a significant increase from GOP’s initial proposal. Their deal would add an additional $ 80 million to Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University, raising their funding in line with the extra money already allocated to the University of Arizona.

Marisol Garcia, vice president of the Arizona Education Association, spoke about the $ 18 billion spending plan.

Marisol Garcia, vice president of the Arizona Education Association, spoke about the $ 18 billion spending plan.

Sen, a moderate Phoenix Democrat. Sean Bowie has joined hands with moderate Republican Senator Paul Boyer to push for more school funding, saying more than half of the total $ 1 billion in new school funding is planned and ongoing. Both are stepping down from the legislature later this year.

“Now, this budget is not perfect. I want to include it in the budget. I have a bill that really cares about tax cuts for low-income working families,” Bowie said. “I was told that the bill or more investment in K-12 schools was an option and I chose our K-12 public schools.”

He cited the Boers’ “leadership, your perseverance, your perseverance” in reaching the deal.

Boer, who began as a Senate staffer and has been a member of the Legislature for a decade, said it was the first bilateral budget in at least 15 years.

Legislators also agreed to technical changes in the formula for the distribution of money to schools and the $ 4 million each for school testing and 2022 election expenses. The proposed expansion of the tax credit to subsidize private school tuition must have been removed from the pass-pass budget, which is probably unfortunate.

Bipartisanship spread to the opposition – some conservative Republicans and Liberal Democrats voted against the budget deal.

Sen from the Glendale Democrats. Martin Quizada spoke out against plans to spend $ 335 million for a wall on the southern border, saying it was useless in stopping people from crossing.

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“It’s really about getting on the soap box and blaming immigrants and creating a political element,” Quizada said.

But for Democrats, it may be the last chance in the future to make an impression on the state budget. Republicans are expected to expand their majority widely in the 2022 election because of the new district boundaries that appear to favor the GOP.

The legislature plans to return Thursday afternoon to enact legislation that will regulate how new water cash and other remaining bills will be spent, with an eye on postponing the year after they are completed.