Arizona Gov. Hobbs releases budget, concerned by process in Republican-controlled legislature

Jan 13, 2023, 4:11 PM

(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)...

(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs’ budget proposal — released Friday afternoon — has kept her up at night since her gubernatorial campaign.

She was asked on KTAR News’ Gaydos & Chad show on Friday what’s one thing she wanted to get done within a year, and her answer was to pass a budget and avoid any government shutdown.

“One of the things that kept me up at night during the campaign and after the election is how far is an extreme majority going to go to create failure when we need to be working together to move our state forward,” Hobbs said.

Her executive budget for 2024 emphasized public education, affordable housing and water resources.

The budget repeals the Empowerment Scholarship Accounts signed by former Gov. Doug Ducey and committed funds for teacher retention programs, school construction and student scholarships.

Additional funds would go toward the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, long-term water programs and the Department of Public Safety.

“Our fiscal year budget takes action on the issues that matter most to Arizonans: lowering costs, investing in education, securing our water future and tackling the affordable housing crisis,” Hobbs said in a press release.

Passing the Democrat’s budget will be a challenge in a Republican-controlled state legislature.

House Speaker Ben Toma tweeted shortly after the budget released he is confident it will be “dead on arrival,” calling it a “left-wing wish list.”

Division between the governor and Republican party was evident during her State of the State address Monday, when multiple Republican lawmakers walked out or turned their backs during the speech. Hobbs said she anticipated something of the sort transpiring.

“I was focused on making sure that Arizonans were getting the message that I’m ready to work with anyone,” Hobbs said, noting she did not see the walkouts. “I think that’s the message they sent us in the election, that they want folks who are going to put the partisan politics aside and get to work on these tough issues. I’m still optimistic that we’re going to be able to do that.”

Arizona House Republicans released a statement on Thursday the intension to pass a continuation of last session’s budget.

Andres Cano, House Democratic leader, expressed his support for Hobbs’ proposed budget and criticized the continuation budget idea.

“Governor Hobbs has come forward with a fiscally responsible and balanced budget that makes game-changing investments for Arizonans,” Cano said in a press release.

“The Republican proposal to put forward a ‘continuation’ budget before the governor was able to share her own plan is just an extension of the disrespect that Arizonans observed on Monday when their members chose to leave the room or turn their backs on the duly elected governor. … This is not a productive way to start negotiations on what will have to be a bipartisan compromise budget.”

Hobbs has said numerous times she wants to be a governor for all Arizonans which requires reaching across the aisle, but that ideal has been challenged early in her tenure.

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Arizona Gov. Hobbs releases budget, concerned by process in Republican-controlled legislature