Arizona Governor Katie Hobb’s first budget (for the 2023/24 year) totaling about $17.1 billion reflects the Democratic values and commitment to long-term financial stability that was lacking in prior Ducey budgets.

More tax cuts for the very wealthy? Nope.

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A continuation of the expanded school voucher program for the wealthy? Not happening in Governor Hobb’s governing vision.

What does the budget do?

It helps children and young adults by:

  • Major investments in public education with new funds for per-pupil funding, school construction, dual credit, teacher retention, college scholarships, free and reduced lunch, community colleges, expanded rural broadband for schools, and special education.
  • Providing tax relief for parents through a refundable tax credit and exemption for products like diapers.
  • Expanding KidsCare, the program to help poor children get health insurance.
  • Fully funding the state adoption subsidy.
  • Giving a raise to Department of Child Safety staff and recruiting more specialists to reduce caseloads.

It helps adults by:

  • Investing $150 million in the Housing Trust Fund.
  • Helping to make caseloads shrink at Adult Protective Services.
  • Expand the Healthy Arizona Families Program for home visits.
  • Augmenting Title X with additional funds for family planning.
  • Providing for public safety through programs geared to help law enforcement throughout the state and the border.

It helps infrastructure and sustainability by:

  • Help fund rural broadband expansion and transportation grants.
  • Providing for electric vehicle charging stations and advanced fuel infrastructure.
  • Investing in cybersecurity and other modernizing of public safety and state agency computer systems.
  • Funding water augmentation programs and helping neglected communities access safe drinking water.
  • Restoring interstate rail service in Phoenix.
  • PFAS cleanup.

According to the Governor’s team’s estimates, the fiscal year 2024 will end with a $1.6 billion surplus.

Unlike Ducey’s budgets, this fiscal blueprint is not a putting the wealthy first budget. It makes major investments in the people and the state’s long-term socio-economic and sustainable future.

Please click here to see the budget proposal in detail.

Commenting on the budget, Governor Hobbs relayed in a press release:

“We have an opportunity to make a significant change in the lives of the families and communities of this state. We are committed to facing our challenges head-on to build a resilient, innovative, and prosperous Arizona for everyone. 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.”

Republicans have already cried foul on the Governor’s budget and have opted to propose a continuation budget before considering the details of Ms. Hobb’s budget.

On the Governor’s proposed budget and the Republican reaction to it, House Democratic Leader Andres Cano commented:

“Governor Hobbs has come forward with a fiscally responsible and balanced budget that makes game-changing investments for Arizonans. Her plan speaks to our shared Arizona values by addressing the affordable housing crisis, improving and repairing our public schools, training our 21st-century workforce, and strengthening our safety net to help pull our most vulnerable out of poverty. We are still reviewing the details, and we will have a tremendous amount of work ahead of us, but this is a strong start.

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. I’m deeply disappointed that Republicans did not give our Governor an opportunity to share her plan before passing judgment. This is not a productive way to start negotiations on what will have to be a bipartisan compromise budget.”

Senate Democratic Leader Raquel Teran offered:

“The proposed executive budget by Governor Hobbs presents an opportunity to move Arizona
into the future. Our caucus is thankful to finally see an executive budget that invests in priorities
that is grounded in the realities that Arizonans are facing. The budget has the potential to uplift working families and give back to those historically marginalized. Likewise, this proposal emphasizes responsible government and protects taxpayers. We are eager to work with the Governor on key housing, water, social safety net, and education investments outlined in the budget proposal. We know the process to pass a budget will require bipartisan support and we are ready to begin working on a budget that provides direct benefits to all Arizonans.”

Beth Lewis of Save Our Schools Arizona issued a press release that stated:

“Governor Hobbs’ K-12 budget represents a complete reimagining of what public education can and should be in Arizona. Save Our Schools Arizona fully supports the Governor’s K-12 budget, which takes care of all Arizona students, provides for every educator, and ensures every neighborhood public school is a quality choice for every Arizona family.

Hobbs’ proposed repeal of last year’s reckless universal ESA voucher expansion signals a re-prioritization of public education and a renewed focus on ensuring a well-funded, fully-resourced classroom for every Arizona child. Universal ESA vouchers threaten to bankrupt our state and our local public schools, with unbudgeted costs set to reach nearly $400 million in the next year. By prioritizing public education funding over wasteful and unaccountable private school vouchers, Governor Hobbs fulfills her Constitutional obligation to properly fund Arizona’s public schools.

For decades, Arizona’s public schools have gone chronically underfunded by our state leaders. We applaud Hobbs for sweeping universal voucher funds and harmful results-based funding to add $198 million in additional base-level support. School districts will be able to use these desperately-needed funds to raise teacher pay and provide critical resources and extracurriculars for all 1.1 million Arizona students. Additionally, we are thrilled to see $332 million proposed for building renewal projects approved by the State Facilities Board in order to create safe learning spaces for students and educators.

In all, Governor Hobbs’ K-12 budget makes us infinitely proud of the tireless work our network of volunteers put in to elect her as our pro-public education governor,” said Statewide Outreach Director Nicky Indicavitch.

We look forward to working with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to ensure that Governor Hobbs’ proposed budget and vision for fully-funded public schools become a reality.”

This is going to be a very interesting seven months heading into the new fiscal year.

Expect a lot of posturing and fighting at the State Capitol before the 2023/24 budget is finalized and based on past experiences, it would be reasonable to forecast both sides getting some of what they want but having to leave some items from their wish lists on the cutting room floor.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

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