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Arizona Gov. Ducey would ‘welcome’ Democratic vote for stalled budget

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in the KTAR News studios, June 8, 2021. (KTAR News Photo/Tyler Bassett)

PHOENIX – Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Tuesday he would “welcome” a Democratic vote to break the logjam over his tax-slashing budget proposal, which has failed to gain unanimous support from his own party.

Ducey’s $12.8 billion spending plan would impose a 2.5% flat tax rate that works out to a $1.9 billion loss in state revenue once in place in three years. The proposal also would shield the wealthy from having to directly pay a voter-approved surcharge to fund education.

Lone Republican holdouts in each chamber of the Legislature have prevented the 11-bill budget package, which under state law must be passed before July 1, from moving forward.

“Well, this is really where the debate and deliberation happens. This is where we sit down and discuss what’s important to you, what’s important to me, and you need 16 and 31 to pass a budget,” Ducey told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show, referring to the number of votes required in the Senate and House, respectively, to pass any bill.

“We’ve got a one-seat majority in each House and Senate, and I don’t understand why a Democrat wouldn’t want a competitive state. So their vote is welcome as well. So let’s talk.”

There’s been no indication that any Democratic lawmaker would consider supporting the GOP proposal.

Rep. David Cook and Sen. Paul Boyer have been the majority party holdouts. Cook called the budget “bad policy” and questioned the inclusion of legislation unrelated to spending in the package. Boyer said he’s concerned about the size of the tax cut and how it would impact cities and towns, which rely on state funding for many services.

Ducey argued that the state’s economy is strong, with a possible $4 billion budget surplus and $1 billion in the rainy day fund, making this the right time to aggressively move toward his goal of getting state income taxes “as close to zero as possible.”

“That’s the opportunity that we have with this tax reform and simplification, and I’m going to work with all of our lawmakers to get this over the finish line,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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