PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is tired of waiting for the Legislature to send him a state budget package and made his point Friday by vetoing a series of bills and saying he would sign not more until he gets a spending plan for the coming year.
The move by the Republican governor came after a week of delays by the GOP-controlled Legislature as leaders tried to get enough votes to pass a budget they negotiated with Ducey. The House gave up trying on Wednesday and the Senate on Thursday, with both adjourning until June 10 unless they somehow wrangle the needed votes before then.
The damage from that decision was a series of 22 vetoes -- including a bill Republicans championed that would ban certain types of anti-racism training for government workers that passed the Senate on Thursday. Senate Republicans were joining a national conservative backlash against critical race theory, which seeks to highlight how racist policies of the past manifest today. Democrats were all opposed to the measure.
Other bills hit with Ducey’s veto stamp include ones increasing write-offs for deposits to college savings plans, boosting testing for marijuana and using marijuana fund money to research mental illness and one allocating money to fund emergency shelter beds for older Maricopa County residents.
Ducey said with just a month remaining until the start of the new fiscal year, Arizonans deserve to see the budget enacted. The $12.8 billion plan includes a massive income tax cut and new spending on roads and other improvements, plus new tax cuts for veterans and business property.
"On the table is a budget agreement that makes responsible and significant investments in K-12 education, higher education, infrastructure and local communities, all while delivering historic tax relief to working families and small businesses," Ducey said in a statement.
Ducey and his predecessor, former Gov, Jan Brewer, have used bill-signing moratoriums in the past to get recalcitrant lawmakers to pass a budget.
In 2016, Ducey told Republican leaders of the Legislature he did not want to see any more bills transmitted to his desk until he got the budget. But he did not veto any bills, instead signing the five that were awaiting actions when he issued the threat April 1.
Brewer was even more hard-nosed, In 2013, she explicitly threatened to veto any legislation that hit her desk before a budget in an effort to jump-start negotiations. Then-Senate President Andy Biggs and then-House Speaker Andy Tobin decided to test her resolve and sent her five bills. She promptly vetoed them all. She issued a similar veto threat the next year when budget negotiations dragged on.
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