The People of Arizona can breathe a sigh of relief.
In their latest attempt to ram through their payday for the rich in the State House of Representatives, Republican leadership, after loading the budget bill with reactionary measures (like taking away mask-wearing mandates in schools and making it illegal for instructors to teach controversial topics like the truth of American History) and token spending cuts (election misinformation guru Jake Hoffman introduced a failed measure to reduce the increase in unemployment benefits,) failed to find enough of their own party to pass the regressive tax cut measures through that chamber.
The lone Republican holdout was Legislative District (LD) Eight State Representative David Cook who, with all the Democrats, voted against the proposed budget that contained a $1.5 billion tax cut for the wealthy.
According to reporting by the Associated Press, Mr. Cook, who does support a smaller tax cut than the $1.5 billion flat one, said:
“As a conservative Republican with a consistent conservative voting record, I believe we need not mirror the federal government and continue with the borrowing and debt. Paying off our financial obligations as a state before spending more money is a Republican value I have encouraged my fellow lawmakers to consider before casting their vote.”
In the debate prior to the crucial vote, leading Democrats like Ways and Means Ranking Member Mitzi Epstein (from LD 18) railed against the Republican tax cut proposals, stating they were fiscally dangerous and unrealistic and that they did nothing to help the vast majority of the people of the Grand Canyon State.
She posted on social media:
😠 This budget bill is a wild, blindfolded, running Canon ball jump into the deep end of the pool.
In contrast, the 7 economists of the Finance Advisory Committee urged caution in implementing tax cuts bc the income projections are unsure based on the unusual pandemic year. pic.twitter.com/VASeGtUBDm
— Sen. Mitzi Epstein (@MitziEpstein) June 7, 2021
The Republicans also appear to lack the votes to pass the budget and tax cut in the Arizona Senate where LD 20 Paul Boyer has not been convinced this is the right conservative fiscal plan for the state.
There are 23 days left in the fiscal year.
Republicans should probably realize their dream to make Arizona the next Kansas (which Cook brought up in an exchange with Tax Cut zealot Ben Toma) appears to be dead and that they should negotiate a viable budget with the Democrats that move the state forward and pays for vital priorities like schools, law enforcement, and children’s health care.
Unfortunately, people can not count on the forces of imbecilic reactionism giving up on their trickle-down pipe dream yet. They never give up despite what history and reality has shown.
More to follow with the State Legislature reconvenes this Thursday.