Arizona State Senator Jake Hoffman released a statement Friday celebrating the upcoming tax rebates Arizonans will receive based on the State Budget passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Katie Hobbs (D).
“Gas, groceries, housing, and energy prices have surged over the past three years since Democrats took control of the federal government,” Hoffman said. “This is the first time in at least 30 years our state lawmakers have been able to step up to the plate to provide a tax rebate of this magnitude for our citizens. I’m proud of the leadership of the Arizona Freedom Caucus, and for the support of our Republican colleagues, to dedicate $260 million to helping struggling Arizona families.”
After months of debate and negotiations between Governor Katie Hobbs (D) and state Legislative leaders, the Arizona State House and Senate have passed a $17.8 billion state budget with bipartisan support, delivering some wins and losses for both sides of the political aisle.
“From day one, our Majority has been focused on getting the job done for our constituents: putting Arizona families first, protecting the vulnerable, and growing opportunity and freedom. We’re conservatives. We believe you should keep more of your money and the government should spend less. That’s why we believe this is Arizona’s Budget — a budget that reflects our needs, gives back, spends smart, and addresses real issues,” said House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Peoria). “We needed a budget that the Governor would sign that accomplishes our goal of putting Arizona families first. This budget accomplishes both.”
Research group Common Sense Institute Arizona (CSIAZ) released a new report Monday that found Arizona’s highest-performing schools may start receiving less state funding moving forward as the new state budget is set to repeal a program that funded schools based on results.
“We hope the report sparks a conversation about the benefits of funding outcomes in K-12. We believe the report lays out a case for focusing future investment on achievements. And, policymakers will need to consider the impact that the cut to results based funding will have on high performing schools, especially those low-income, high-performing schools, after the one-time money in this year’s budget expires next year,” said CSIAZ Executive Director Katie Ratlief in an email to The Arizona Sun Times.
With the Legislative session winding down, one of the major tasks left for lawmakers to accomplish is creating a state budget, which needs to be in place before July, or a government shutdown could occur. However, Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) said State Democrats are inhibiting the process by not cooperating with budgeting requests.
“We are just weeks away from some government agencies running out of funding because legislative Democrats are stalling,” said Petersen. “I’m confident we would have already passed a budget had the Democrats spent the last seven weeks negotiating the budget with us, in good faith.”
Arizona State Senator John Kavanaugh (R-Fountain Hills), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, told The Arizona Sun Times Friday that attempts to work with Democrats on a state budget have not received necessary responses.
“This year, nobody is going to be able to claim that we shut them out,” Kavanaugh said in a phone interview.
With a potential government shutdown looming on the horizon, State House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Peoria) and Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) sent a letter to Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) Tuesday requesting a meeting to discuss ways to compromise on the state budget.
“In our first and only meeting to discuss the budget, your office stated it was unwilling to receive feedback or take questions. Obviously, we need some level of agreement to pass a budget. We believe we can achieve most of our priorities and including yours that are reasonable,” the Legislators wrote in their joint letter.
Republican Arizona state legislators of the House and Senate are moving forward with their previously proposed continuation budget, referred to as a “skinny budget,” which members call the financially responsible move to ensure state entities are funded and continue without issue.
“This is a budget that recognizes the political and economic realities in our state right now. It’s a responsible plan based on the budget funding approved last session with bipartisan support. It fully funds our state’s obligations and ensures that essential functions of state government will continue without interruption,” said State Representative David Livingston (R-Peoria).