Mar 23, 2020
PHOENIX – Democratic Leader Representative Charlene Fernandez released the following statement regarding today's passage of a pared-down state budget that includes a bi-partisan deal for $50 million to aid Arizonans with rental and foreclosure assistance, homeless services and shelters, small business and nonprofit assistance and food banks to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This crisis is real. It’s here. Arizonans are getting sick, losing jobs and families are hurting. Our state is looking to us for leadership and help. On Thursday there were 44 COVID19 cases. Today there are 234 and two fatalities. It’s likely going to get worse before it gets better.
This budget will help and that’s why we support it. But it will not be enough. We know we will have to do more, that’s the point we made with our amendments to increase unemployment benefits, food aid, stop evictions and foreclosures and prevent price gouging. We were ready to pass this negotiated plan on Thursday. It's good for Arizona that Republicans and Democrats came together today, but there was no reason for it to take this long. Our caucus has gone from being accused of over-reacting, mocked for calling this a crisis, to being accused of dragging things out by standing up for our community needs and not moving fast enough.
The fact is this pandemic will likely not subside in a few weeks, or even months. The fact is our economy will continue to constrict. And the fact is the lifeline we are trying to throw to Arizona residents will still be needed, likely sooner rather than later.”