by Howard Fisher
capitol media services
PHOENIX–The chairman of the Arizona Liberal Party said Monday that more Arizonas would want more if other lawmakers, including some of their Republican colleagues, hadn’t taken their cut for hometown pet projects. said they would have received a tax refund.
At a news conference Monday, Senator Jake Hoffman (R, Queen Creek) boasted that $260 million of the $17.8 billion budget was set aside for a one-time tax cut. He said he needed it to offset the inflation and increased costs that the Biden administration has imposed on its feet.
But that $260 million isn’t enough, he said, so only families with children are eligible.
But what about other people, such as the elderly who live on a fixed income?
“If every member of Congress had put money into this fund, we would have gotten $2.4 billion in rebates and could have impacted seniors and other categories,” he said.
This was the amount left after lawmakers adopted a funding plan for next year and made necessary adjustments for inflation and program growth.
So negotiators should give each member of that surplus cash (usually $30 million for senators, $20 million for congressmen, and a separate allocation for governors) to even out the votes. agreed.
Lawmakers had the option to pool stock for bigger issues, like the Democratic Party’s decision to provide a one-time fund of $300 million for K-12 colleges. A $150 million deposit in the Housing Trust Fund also came from pooled Democratic funds.
Hoffman tried to do the same with kickbacks.
“But unfortunately what we’ve seen this budgeting season is that only Congressmen behind me and a handful of other conservative Republicans choose to spend it that way and give back to the taxpayer. We chose to spend taxpayer money to help,” he lamented. .
Well, not exactly.
Senate Majority Leader Sonny Borrelli was among those gathered at the podium behind Hoffman. And Lake Havasu Republicans finally admitted that their cut went to Lake Havasu’s $35.5 million bridge.
When asked about the decision his colleagues made, Hoffman said:
“Your objective here is to divide the Republican Party,” he said.
“The goal here is to create some kind of hit piece and an angle where you can take advantage of it. That’s not what we do here,” Hoffman said.
But what about the Republican lawmakers who decided on projects ranging from circular transit, pavement improvements, sidewalk construction, and existing highway extensions? Hoffman deflected the question.
“You want to talk about the Republican Party?” he said.
“The reality is not a single Democrat has donated a single penny out of that $2.4 billion to help get tax refunds for families in Arizona. This is a disappointing farce,” Hoffman said. .
And what about the $300 million used to fund K-12 schools?
“That’s not what we want to talk about here today,” he replied.
Borrelli insisted that some of the surplus money be used for purposes other than cutting taxes.
“Rural Arizona has always been ignored,” he told the Capitol Media Service after the press conference.
And Mr Borrelli said having a second bridge across the Channel to the island — built to provide for what London Bridge would actually cross — was a matter of public safety.
Nor did he apologize for his quota, which he said he shared with other district councilors.
“We’ve taken care of our district and that’s why they sent me here,” Borrelli said.
He did not dispute that under normal circumstances, funding priorities for road projects would be determined by the Arizona Department of Transportation. Constantly updated, he has a five-year plan to fund needs based on priorities. Leaving the decision to ADOT made Borelli noticeably colder.
“So you’re saying that state agencies, bureaucrats, have more authority than legislatures to decide how and how that money is spent?” he said.
Borelli wasn’t the only one to ask for a cut of the surplus, but he was the only one to show up at Hoffmann’s press conference and take credit for the kickback — at least for what he gave after Borelli and others. funded their project.
And they are scattered all over the state.
Of the 44 budget, $1.8 million is given to the City of Sierra Vista for improvements to Theater Drive. Grove will receive $3.5 million to build sidewalks along Jessie Hayes Road and Six Shooter Canyon Road. And Tucson was paid $15 million to improve the Drexel Road Bridge.
Other funds will be used for future projects.
In the budget, Pinal County has spent $9.2 million on the design and engineering of the new East-West Corridor. In addition, he plans to donate $10 million to Marana for the design of a transportation interchange between Interstate 10 and Cortaro Road. In addition, $250,000 has been donated to Cave Creek to consider increasing the number of lanes along Cave Creek Road.
Not all landmarks are on the road.
Chandler, Tucson and Mesa Police Departments have donated $750,000 to pilot programs for the use of pepper balls. Peoria police will receive $3.5 million for the helicopter. And Mojave County is seeking $500,000 to purchase a sheriff’s office vehicle.
In addition, nonprofits are participating in the effort, including a donation of $15.3 million to volunteer groups that run rodeos at the Yavapai County fairgrounds.