ARIZONA NEWS

Watch: Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs delivers State of the State address

Jan 8, 2024, 1:40 PM | Updated: 3:59 pm

PHOENIX — Katie Hobbs delivered her second State of the State address as Arizona’s governor on Monday, kicking off the new legislative session.

The Democrat spoke on several issues, including education, water, immigration and affordable housing. Addressing a nearly $1 billion shortfall expected in the next two fiscal years was also a main topic of the speech.

The legislative new year officially begins with the governor’s annual State of the State address. The goal is to wrap up the legislative session within 100 days, but lawmakers typically go until May or June, especially when there are difficult problems to negotiate like a budget shortfall.

Less than six months after they celebrated passing a bipartisan budget, lawmakers face a steep deficit due mostly to plummeting revenues from a massive tax cut that took full effect last year and skyrocketing costs from a school voucher program expansion.

A year ago, the state had a budget surplus of $1.8 billion. Now, it has a projected shortfall of about $400 million for the current fiscal year and another $450 million shortfall in the following year. Budget analysts say the shortfall will likely grow when the state’s next revenue forecast is released later this month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Watch: Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs delivers State of the State address