By Daniel Stefanski |
Arizonans were denied relief at the grocery stores this week as the Democrat governor and Republican-led Legislature remain far apart on how to provide economic assistance to hard-working, middle-class constituents.
On Tuesday, Governor Katie Hobbs vetoed SB 1063, which would have repealed the food municipal tax across the state.
In a statement explaining her veto, Hobbs wrote: “I’ve heard from dozens of local leaders about the impact this legislation would have on municipalities. From potential cuts to service – including public safety – to increased property taxes, it’s clear that this bill doesn’t actually eliminate costs for our residents. It simply moves those costs around. The bill, originally unveiled as a way to mitigate inflation, does not take effect for more than two years. What’s more, it does nothing for the more than 800,000 Arizonans who use SNAP and WIC benefits for their groceries, as these constituents are already exempt from the tax.”
The governor ended her statement with an exhortation for Republican legislative leadership: “Let’s work together to provide real relief for Arizonans struggling with higher costs.”
Republicans immediately expressed their profound disappointment over the veto and the effect that it would have on Arizonans in need of financial relief. Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen responded, “Senate Republicans have been working toward introducing legislation necessary to provide financial relief to all Arizonans, especially low-income families who are feeling the tremendous burden of inflation. It’s very clear the governor has no interest in helping with that financial burden.”
Senate Majority Leader Sonny Borrelli said: “This veto is a disgraceful windfall for cities and an absolute gouge for families. We’re not only paying inflated prices to feed our families, but we’re also paying more in taxes as the cost of food rises. Food is not a luxury; it is a necessity. A tax on our groceries is regressive and hurts everyone. Over the next four fiscal years, cities and towns are estimated to receive an average of $2.3 billion per year in state-shared revenues, which is an increase of $844 million more than the average for the last four fiscal years. And yet the governor vetoed this bill, only padding cities’ bloated budgets instead of leaving more money in the wallets of hardworking taxpayers.”
House Majority Leader Leo Biasiucci tweeted, “During a time of record inflation, families are struggling to put food on the table. Yet, Gov Hobbs vetoes a bill to remove taxes on groceries. Instead, she wants to remove taxes from tampons & diapers.”
Legislative Democrats applauded the governor’s veto. The Arizona House Democrats Caucus wrote, “Soundbite legislation that would handcuff ability of smaller cities and towns to provide public safety, streets, parks, libraries and senior centers. Good veto!”
Governor Hobbs had many other supporters of her veto from around the state. The Arizona League of Cities and Towns, which had opposed the bill as it progressed through the state legislature, tweeted, “Thank you @governorhobbs for vetoing SB1063 and recognizing that the food tax helps fund critical services in many cities and towns and its elimination does not provide targeted relief for those that most need help.”
Goodyear Mayor Joe Pizzillo also championed the governor’s action, stating: “@GovernorHobbs veto of SB1063 protects local decision-making and funding for critical services like public safety, parks & recreation, and infrastructure. #Thankyou”
A divided Arizona government remains more divided as ever as the deadline for the state budget approaches.
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.