Arizona House Democrats offer budget alternatives

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PHOENIX (AP) -- State House Democrats on Monday offered proposals that they say will tackle the state's immediate budget crisis without most of the damage they ascribe to Republicans' suggestions.

The state faces a shortfall of nearly $1.6 billion in the $9.9 billion budget for the current fiscal year, which is now more than half over.

The House Democrats' proposal trims by two-thirds the spending cuts that key Republicans proposed for state agencies, public schools and higher education.

The Democrats include some cuts but they would postpone payments for some spending this year into the next fiscal year.

Democrats say that won't create long-term debt for the state but will give lawmakers time to find budget solutions that minimize damage to public programs.

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