Arizona Edition

Democrats push back against bipartisan budget bills 

Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs and Republican lawmakers are negotiating the budget, and a number of budget bills were introduced on Monday, but Democratic lawmakers and even the Arizona Attorney General are opposed.

Democratic Rep. Chris Mays said, “Today we see budgets moving forward that seem politically favorable to some, but wholly unfavorable to the majority of people in the state. It is enough,” he said. tweet thread about the budget.

The $17.8 billion budget is poised to be the largest in the state’s history, but it cuts funding for large projects and state agencies and puts more money into the state’s universal school voucher program. Democratic lawmakers are upset with Hobbes because he won’t cut funding for the . to her caucuses in January.

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“Without a cap on ESA (Empowerment Scholarship Account) vouchers in this budget, we will have a catastrophic deficit next year,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitzi Epstein. gave to twitter Many of her shared the same sentiment when it came to budgets. colleague of the Democratic Party.

ESA expansion was behind historic bipartisan 2023 Nation budget passed late at night In June 2022, as part of a compromise between other K-12 funding and other budgetary priorities. School advocacy groups such as Save Our Schools Arizona have already denounced this year’s budget as a failure of public schools.

“Governor. Hobbes must honor her promise to public schools by negotiating this year’s growth cap for the Universal ESA Voucher Program as a primary means of financial stewardship,” said Save Our Schools. Director Beth Lewis said in a press release. “Her 1.1 million public school students in Arizona expect Universal to withdraw her voucher program and honor Gov. Hobbs’ commitment to prioritizing our public schools. ”

The budget includes some funding for schools in school facilities fundand increased school safety grants by $50 million.

The budget includes a myriad of local and pet projects aimed at creating bipartisan support for the budget, such as the Psilocybin Research Grant Program Based on Republican Bill $15 million for a rodeo in Yavapai County.

Hobbs’ bipartisan budget also includes tax rebates of $250 for parents with dependents under age 17 and $100 for parents with dependents age 17 and older. This applies to anyone with at least $1 of her tax liability, except for most low-income households in Arizona.

The budget also includes some of Hobbes’ priorities that she previously outlined in state speeches. There is a pilot program within budget to recover and desalinate brackish groundwater. Hobbes states that water is one of her priorities.

Also in the budget is $20 million to the Arizona Department of Housing for programs for people experiencing homelessness, and $5.6 million to state hospitals for programs to help hire and retain truck drivers. $500,000 to charities and $12 million to programs to help them. Recovery from opioid addiction.

There are also some public safety measures in the budget.Pepperball Pilot ProgramIt is divided into Chandler, Mesa, and Tucson Police Departments. Flagstaff, Mojave, Casa Grande Police Departments, Maricopa, and Navajo County Sheriff’s Office will acquire the firearms training simulator from a $1.3 million budget.

Also included in the budget is a scholarship program for law enforcement spouses and dependents.

The House Budget Bill, sponsored by Rep. David Livingston (R-Peoria), has been assigned to the House Appropriations Committee and is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday morning, while the Senate version of the bill was launched by Senator John Kavanagh (R-Peoria). ) is sponsored by -Fountain Hills, and assigned to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Cabana sponsored a “skinny budget” that Hobbes rejected earlier this year. If Democrats oppose the bill, they should separate members of the Republican caucus for a chance to block their passage.

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