Arizona GOP Legislators Use 2022 Budget for This Year To Ease Taxpayer Burden

Arizona GOP Legislators Use 2022 Budget for This Year To Ease Taxpayer Burden

By Corinne Murdock |

On Monday, the Arizona Senate Appropriations Committee approved reusing last year’s budget for the coming year, citing concerns over the current poor state of the economy. 

The budget bill, SB1523, passed along partisan lines, 6-4. The Republican majority of the committee insisted that this budget structure was a fiscally wise move, while the Democratic minority claimed that Republicans were merely unwilling to negotiate with them. 

Gov. Katie Hobbs criticized the budget as a “do-nothing” plan.

Republican legislators wondered whether Hobbs would close government-funded entities to obtain her ideal budget.

“[W]ill she veto the budget and threaten the possibility of closing our schools, law enforcement agencies, and health care services?” asked House Majority Leader Leo Biasiucci (R-LD30). 

During Monday’s Senate Appropriations Committee meeting, Democrats alleged that Republicans weren’t concerned about the economy. Rather, they said that their budget reflected a refusal to work with either them or Hobbs. 

Senate Minority Caucus Chair Lela Alston (D-LD05) called the budget a “phony bill,” a “power grab,” and a “Ducey budget” that avoided negotiations with Hobbs and Democrats. State Sen. Priya Sundareshan (D-LD18) claimed it was disrespectful to not give them more notice. The legislators received the bill on Monday evening. Sundareshan implied that last year’s Democratic legislators were only satisfied with the budget because they had several different Democrats in the legislature and didn’t have a Democratic governor in power.

“I understand that this budget may have been modeled after a bipartisan one last year, but that does not reflect the reality on the ground today. We have different legislators in the legislature today, we have a different governor, we have different circumstances on the ground,” said Sundareshan. 

State Sen. John Kavanagh (R-LD03), the committee chairman, countered Democrats’ claims that the budget was sprung upon them suddenly Monday evening. Kavanagh said that they had plenty of notice of budget proceedings over the past month. 

“It wouldn’t be a phony budget to the state employees, to those who rely on state monies come July when government shuts down. To them, this wouldn’t have been a phony budget, this would’ve been a lifesaver budget, including schools and teachers,” said Kavanagh.


State Sen. Anthony Kern (R-LD27) said that the budget was “skinny” and “responsible” since the state and nation are living in times of economic uncertainty. State Sen. Jake Hoffman (R-LD15) concurred. He questioned why Hobbs would veto the budget when she knew how a Republican-led legislature would structure the budgets in response to their constituents.

“We are going into times of economic uncertainty, and this budget is going to keep the lights on,” said Hoffman. 

Senate Democrats criticized the budget for being too similar to last year’s version. However, last year the caucus praised the budget as a “historic and rare opportunity” for schools.

In a press release following the Senate Appropriations Committee advancing their version of the budget, House Minority Leader Andrés Cano (D-LD20) claimed that Republicans were “afraid” of Hobbs, and needed to “grow up.” Similarly, Senate Minority Leader Raquel Terán (D-LD26) said that Republicans needed to “act their age” to improve the budget.

Following the Senate advancing its version of the budget, House Republicans introduced their version on Tuesday. State Rep. David Livingston (R-LD28) expressed confidence that all 13 of his introduced budget bills would pass during Wednesday’s House Appropriations Committee meeting, which he chairs.

In a press release, Livingston called Hobbs’ budget plan an “irresponsible,” “left-wing” wish list

“In this time of political division and economic uncertainty, that won’t work for Arizonans, and it won’t pass at the legislature,” said Livingston. 

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) report of the budget forecasted $17.6 billion in ongoing revenue for the upcoming fiscal year, nearly $15 billion in ongoing expenditures, and nearly $858,000 in one-time expenditures.

The budget includes $183 million in one-time funding for building renewal grants, $78 million from the state general fund for a one-time deposit in the new schools facility fund, and $200 million from the state general fund for the superintendent.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

New Senate Committee on Director Nominations Formed To Ensure Protocols Followed

New Senate Committee on Director Nominations Formed To Ensure Protocols Followed

By Daniel Stefanski |

Arizona hasn’t had to deal with a divided government for quite some time with the Governor’s Office and both chambers of the Legislature being controlled by Republicans for over a decade. At the beginning of 2023, however, a unified government morphed into a divided government, and tensions between the two branches of are beginning to ratchet up as the 56th Legislature enters its second month of the year.

This week, Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen announced the formation of a new Senate Committee on Director Nominations, which is “tasked with gathering information and evaluating qualifications on the governor’s executive appointments in order to recommend a course of action for the Senate to take on each individual.” President Petersen appointed five Senators to serve on this committee – three Republicans and two Democrats. Senator Jake Hoffman will serve as the chair, and Senator Sine Kerr as the vice-chair. Senators T.J. Shope, Christine Marsh, and Eva Burch complete the appointments to the committee.

The creation of this committee follows Petersen’s statement on January 23, threatening to take action against Governor Hobbs if her office did not send director nominations to the Arizona Senate, according to state law. Petersen tweeted, “The law says the governor will promptly send her nominations to the Senate. We have not received one director nomination that she has announced. It would be unfortunate if we have to sue the governor to comply with the law.” When another Twitter user called out the East Valley lawmaker on why he decided to use this public platform to issue his challenge, Petersen revealed that he “called her office five days ago.”

According to the Senate Republican release announcing the Committee on Director Nominations, Governor Hobbs “has failed to submit the required documentation to the Senate on 23 out of 25 individuals who have so far been appointed (as directors).”

Not surprisingly, the new committee has been met with praise on the Republican side and condemnation on the Democrat side. Committee Chairman Hoffman said, “Hobbs’ apparent refusal to follow the law…is unacceptable and demonstrates her willingness to play political games with the lives and safety of Arizona citizens.” Committee Vice Chair (and Senate Majority Whip) Kerr stated, “…we don’t know yet if these individuals are even qualified to hold these positions.” Committee Member and Senate President Pro Tempore Shope called out the governor for her repeated claims of bipartisan and transparent leadership, saying, “for a governor who has made numerous comments on wanting bipartisanship at the Capitol, the way to achieve that goal is not ignore statutory duties or intentionally delay statutory checks and balances.” The Arizona Freedom Caucus tweeted, “The Senate must take its constitutional duty to act as a check & balance on Katie Hobbs’ executive branch seriously.”

On the Democrat side, Senator Marsh, in voting no on the creation of this committee on the Senate floor, said that she wished that legislators would “instead be focusing on the truly time-sensitive issue that we have in front of us, which is passing the AEL (Aggregate Expenditure Limit).” Senator Priya Sundareshan tweeted that the new committee was “another power grab on the Senate floor.” And the Arizona Senate Democrats stated that “the Arizona Senate Republicans continue to take cheap shots at Governor Hobbs and the people of Arizona.”

Now, with the committee established, the Arizona Senate awaits the lawful transmission of the documentation for the directors who have already been appointed to the Hobbs’ administration.

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.