Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs vetoes state budget proposal

Officials with Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs' office announced that the governor has vetoed a budget bill passed by the state legislature.

In a statement released on Feb. 16, officials called the proposal a "one-sided budget that presents Arizonans with false choices."

"Arizonans deserve a budget that takes the real issues they are facing seriously. This do-nothing budget kicks the can down the road and it’s an insult to Arizonans who need their leaders to address affordable housing, invest in public education, and put money back into their pockets," a portion of the statement reads.

In a letter addressed to State House Speaker Ben Toma and State Senate President Warren Petersen, Gov. Hobbs called the budget "partisan," but also said that it is time to come together to address the differences in their visions for the state budget.

"From hundreds of millions of dollars in meritorious infrastructure projects to hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for a tax cut for landlords, it's clear that those who are advocating for a ‘skinny’ budget want to spend significant amounts of money outside of the budget process," read a portion of the letter sent by Gov. Hobbs. "Because of this, it's more important than ever that we begin the process of budget negotiations."

In Gov. Hobb's budget proposal, which was announced in January, she proposed just over $17 billion in spending for the 2024 fiscal year.

On Feb. 1, officials with the Arizona State Senate Republican caucus announced that they have passed a $15.8 billion budget proposal that they say will "give all Arizona citizens and state agencies security during the uncertainty of this current recession that's plaguing our nation."

"It's important to tighten our belts and save some money. We don't know how long this recession will last or how severe it's going to be," said Senate Sen. John Kavanagh, a Republican who represents the state's 3rd Legislative District.

Political leaders react

Republican and Democratic legislative leaders have responded to Gov. Hobbs' veto of the budget proposal.

In a brief statement, State Senate President Petersen wrote:

"Our citizens elected us to fulfill our constitutional duty and pass a budget. Her action creates doubt, uncertainty and chaos, which is a perfect resemblance of what has come from the 9th floor so far over the past several two months."

It should be noted that Gov. Hobbs took office in January 2023, replacing Doug Ducey, who was term-limited and can't run for a third term.

In a separate statement, State House Minority Leader Andres Cano wrote that the budget proposal that was sent to Gov. Hobbs had no input from the governor or Democratic lawmakers.

"Let us be clear: Republican lawmakers unilaterally introduced a sham budget that they knew would be vetoed. This was a colossal waste of time by the GOP involved no opportunity for compromise or negotiation," the statement reads, in part. "Our doors remain open to Republican lawmakers who are serious about tackling the pressing needs of our state."

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