Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signs $17 billion budget for 2024 fiscal year
May 12, 2023, 11:22 AM | Updated: 11:51 am
(Arizona Governor's Office Photo)
PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs announced Friday that she signed an $17.8 billion budget for the 2024 fiscal year that features heavy investments in education, transportation and tax rebates.
The budget, down slightly from the $18.1 billion one signed last year by former Gov. Doug Ducey, includes no net new ongoing spending for the first time since 2017.
“Today, we showed what happens when pragmatic leaders come together and compromise to get things done for Arizonans,” Hobbs said in a press release. “While it isn’t perfect, this budget is an important step towards making housing more affordable, building more roads, bridges and broadband access, expanding children’s health insurance, and investing in our public schools.
“I’m glad legislative leaders were able to come together to deliver for Arizona, and I look forward to our continued partnership.”
The release said Hobbs signed the legislation Thursday night and will hold a press conference to discuss it on Monday.
Each of the 16 bills in the package passed with bipartisan support, although some Democrats cast no votes
The Legislature worked Tuesday evening into Wednesday to pass the proposal before the Thursday signing by Hobbs.
“We’re able to do this for our citizens, while also reducing government spending by $300 million,” Senate President Warren Petersen, a Republican, said in a press release.
During the debate on the House floor, most Democratic lawmakers shied away from directly criticizing Hobbs but expressed dissatisfaction with the budget’s lack of action on the voucher expansion. They tried unsuccessfully to bar applications for new enrollments until late May 2024.
Hobbs came into office in January with plans to undo the massive explosion in the voucher program, championed by Ducey, that lets students apply to use public money for private-school tuition and other education costs.
Hobbs’ office had said the expansion siphons money from underfunded public schools and would cost $1.5 billion over the next decade.
The governor didn’t propose doing away with all vouchers, but she wanted to return to the voucher program to what it was before Ducey expanded it to include every child in the state — when disabled children, students living on American Indian reservations, students attending low-performing public schools and others were eligible for voucher funds.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.