Democratic Leaders Respond to Ducey Budget Plan
PHOENIX, State Capitol – Senate Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios and House Democratic Leader Reginald Bolding released the following statements on Governor Ducey's budget proposal issued today.
Senate Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios, D-Phoenix:
“We appreciate seeing the Governor finally take Arizona’s water crisis seriously by announcing $1 billion for a desalination plant and other augmentation measures. But of course the devil is in the details, and we’ll be on the lookout that this isn't just a gimmick. We also appreciate him addressing an issue Democrats have championed for years, which is increasing the monthly kinship care stipend from $75 to $300. Yet this budget still fails to meet the moment we are in–Which is in the third year of a pandemic that has taken the lives of 25,000 Arizonans and our schools facing a $1.2 billion funding cliff unless the legislature acts. Not to mention the fact this budget assumes Prop 208 will be dismantled and there is no solution to the compounding funding calamities our schools face. In the face of this, the last thing Arizona needs is more unsustainable tax cuts. What Arizona needs is a Governor who takes the COVID-19 pandemic and our school funding crisis seriously. Instead, the Governor is adding an additional $425 million to the Rainy Day Fund when those dollars could address issues Arizonans are facing now and will in the future, such as our water crisis and ongoing teacher shortage.”
House Democratic Leader Reginald Bolding, D-Laveen:
“Making increased investments for needs like drought mitigation, water infrastructure, highways and kinship foster care are sensible long-term priorities, and we look forward to further discussions on the details. But we've learned with this governor that you have to dig beyond the headlines. What looks good on the menu doesn’t always look good on the plate. For example, even the investments we support could ultimately be unsustainable if the Republicans' excessive and reckless $2 billion tax cut for the wealthy is allowed to stand. Arizona's economy and state revenues are benefiting from massive but temporary federal investment in COVID-19 relief and infrastructure. When that investment is gone, Governor Ducey -- along with our ability to maintain adequate schools, healthcare, roads, prisons and other basic priorities -- will be long gone as well.”
Democrats will provide more detailed analysis and questions as we spend more time with the Governor's plan, but initial takeaways include:
The governor overpromised and under-delivered on water and drought
mitigation. His $1.1 billion plan is spread over three years and would require approval from a new governor and new legislature to become reality.
The AZ Back on Track Summer Camp. The Governor never hesitates to criticize the President, but his program appears to be completely funded by the Biden Administration COVID-19 relief program. Democrats deliver!
Topping the already full Rainy Day Fund with an additional $425 million. We have more urgent and pressing needs than this in the third year of a pandemic.