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Arizona House members approve state budget and Medicaid expansion
State House members have given their approval to a new state budget, and it includes Medicaid expansion. The $8.8 billion spending plan was approved during a long session in which many Republican lawmakers, like Warren Peterson of Gilbert, protested that with only $8.5 billion in projected state revenues, the budget is not balanced.
"It's simple math. You spend more than you earn and you're in debt or you got to cut or borrow money. Do all of you spend more than you earn? If you do, surely you are in turmoil," Peterson said.
But, the argument did not sway the coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats who moved the budget through the House. Gov. Jan Brewer contends her Medicaid expansion plan just authorizes the director of the program to raise the needed funds, making it a simple assessment, which only needs a majority vote.
The state Senate is expected to send the budget to the Governor by Thursday afternoon.