According to Arizona’s financial advisory committee, the state has more than $1.3 billion in ongoing funds and $3.6 billion in one-time funds to work with as we begin the budget process. We have $5 billion.
Why are Republicans proposing an austerity budget in times of plenty? Their pet projects — like the Flat Tax, Koch Brothers Freedom Schools, results-based funding and fake pregnancy clinics — are included in this first pass at the budget.
What’s not in this budget? Funding for K-12 education (since the Republicans killed Prop 208 in the courts), maternal and child health, Housing Trust Fund, help for the homeless, eviction relief, major infrastructure projects, expansion of cash assistance to the poor (TANF), programs to address chronic poverty, etc.
When there is so much need, why aren’t we investing in the future? (This video was recorded on April 19, 2022. Read the April 26 update and see the video below.)
April 26, 2022 UPDATE:
The budget described in this clip was soundly defeated in the House Appropriations Committee the next day on a bipartisan vote. Chair Regina Cobb pleaded for votes and said she had been working on this budget since sine die 2021.
All of the Democrats plus Republican Reps. Jake Hoffman and Michelle Udall voted “no”. Hoffman wants LESS spending than the austerity budget. He’s easily the most radical Libertarian member of the House. Udall, a moderate Mormon math teacher and Mom from Mesa, wants some more spending in the budget but probably not as much as the Democrats. She’s running against Kathy Hoffman for Superintendent of Public Instruction. Given her political aspirations, how can she vote for a budget that completely ignores public education and the will of the voters on Prop 208 but funds other ideological, unfair, and unnecessary educational endeavors like the Koch Brothers Freedom Schools and results-based funding. Udall’s position is in the middle between many of the Democrats and the Libertarians.
Several Republicans voted for the budget but expressed dismay that projects passed by the Appropriations Committee were not in this starter budget — like maternal and child health, addressing nursing shortage, the Border Wall and infrastructure.
We are currently adjourned, as the Republicans try to make back room deals on the budget, since the starter budget didn’t even make it to the floor. It seems to me that it would be more expedient and less extreme if the GOP made deals with some of the Corporate Democrats rather than bow the radical right: Reps. Hoffman, Grantham, Parker, Chaplik, Pingerelli, Nguyen, Burgess, Bolick, and Finchem. Only time will tell.