By Daniel Stefanski |
As expected, Governor Katie Hobbs vetoed the budget sent to her by the Arizona Legislature, putting the state’s financial future into a potential situation of future limbo.
Instead of signing a budget very similar to one passed last session by a bipartisan majority of legislators, Governor Hobbs repeatedly attacked Republicans for doing their constitutional duties over the past month, characterizing the $15.8 Billion budget as “approved by a slim, partisan majority.” Her statement, released after her veto of the budget, framed the legislature’s offering as a “do-nothing budget” that “kicks the can down the road,” and that it was “an insult to Arizonans.”
After these sharp assertions by Arizona’s new Chief Executive, her office released a tweet from her @GovernorHobbs account that reiterated her oft-used claim that her “door is open” and that she welcomes “any sincere efforts to work on a budget that puts people, not politics, first.” Hobbs’ “open-door” claim has been refuted by Republicans throughout the first month of the legislative session, including one statement from Representative David Livingston on February 1, 2023, when he said, “It’s one thing to talk a big talk & use social media to say you have an open-door policy, but I can tell you from personal experience, her door is locked from the inside.”
Senate President Warren Petersen had also shared his concerns about the lack of communication from the Ninth Floor in the weeks leading up to this budget passage and gubernatorial veto. Also on February 1, Petersen told his chamber that “we have an open door policy to hear all budget requests and suggestions, and we haven’t heard a peep from Governor Hobbs!”
Republicans had no shortage of responses after seeing the news of the governor’s veto. Senate President Pro Tempore T.J. Shope tweeted, “How brave to veto a budget that just six months ago was awesome. Gonna be a long session and a long four years @GovernorHobbs but I’ll be here for all of it. Some of us have been working and others have been offering platitudes about open doors and such. Arizonans deserve better…”
Representative Lupe Diaz wrote, “Katie Hobbs just vetoed a sensible strong budget that both Republicans and Democrats voted on last year. With this veto she shows that she is willing to put the citizens of Arizona in the path of a State shut down.”
Representative Joseph Chaplik informed his followers that “Every single Dem in #azleg voted for this budget in 2022. Katie Hobbs’ veto shows she’d rather shut the state down than do the right thing for every citizen of this state.”
Senator Anthony Kern said, “Katie Hobbs just vetoed $82 million for the School Safety Program that provides grant funding for both school counselors and school resource officers.”
Legislative Democrats, however, were appreciative of Hobbs’ veto. House Democratic Leader Andrés Cano applauded the governor’s action, saying, “Republican lawmakers unilaterally introduced a sham budget that they knew would be vetoed. This was a colossal waste of time by the GOP that involved no opportunity for compromise or negotiation.” Senate Democratic Leader Raquel Terán tweeted, “.@GovernorHobbs did right by every Arizona with this veto. This ‘budget’ does nothing to move us forward, but would rather chain us to the past. It’s time to step into the future and craft a budget that addresses our shared reality.”
Arizona’s Fiscal Year 2024 begins July 1, and Governor Hobbs’ veto has now officially kickstarted the stare down over a possible lapse in state funding this summer. Hobbs is expected to veto many more Republican bills this session, and it remains to be seen if communication between the sides will improve as they approach the June 30 deadline to reach an accord on another budget compromise.
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.