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Mesnard Wants To Make State Budget Process More Transparent

Published: Monday, April 3, 2017 - 6:00pm

As state lawmakers hash out a new spending plan, Arizona’s speaker of the House is pledging to reach across the aisle to make the budget more bipartisan.

JD Mesnard wants to make the entire process more transparent. Mesnard’s allegiances remain with fellow majority Republicans in the Legislature, but believes there is no harm in including minority Democrats into normally closed-door discussions over the budget.

He wants their feedback but admits the idea was a bit foreign to other GOP lawmakers.

“My approach to being speaker is keeping lines of communication open and keeping the dialogue open even when we fundamentally disagree, because we can treat each other with respect," Mesnard said.

The House’s initial $9.8 billion budget plan excludes nearly $100 million in proposals recommended in Gov. Doug Ducey’s version, plus allows for larger teacher raises and steeper income tax cuts. 

Mesnard says House and Senate leaders agree on the framework of the new budget and hope it will be finished by the end of the month.