On Wednesday, Senate Democratic Leader Katie Hobbs and House Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios filed an amicus brief with the Arizona Supreme Court in support of Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s position that Proposition 206 does not trigger mandatory state expenditures. Proposition 206 phases in a nearly 50 percent hike in the statewide minimum wage,
The Arizona Legislative Democrats’ amicus brief argues in part:
● The majority in the Legislature made the policy decision to cut provider rates since the Great Recession, without fully restoring them;
● The majority in the Legislature made the policy decision to cut taxes, thereby reducing funds in the state coffers, at the same time it was slashing agency budgets;
● Agency budget requests are merely requests and not mandatory, and;,/p>
● The majority in the Legislature made the policy choice to use private contractors to provide services under Medicaid.
“The decision to cut tax rates and reduce the state’s revenue is a policy choice within the discretion of the legislative majority. It is that same legislative discretion that allows the majority in the Legislature to slash appropriations for agency budgets, including provider rates. The combination of those discretionary actions – cutting taxes and reducing appropriations – has led to the fiscal crisis that AHCCCS and other agencies find themselves in today. It is not a result of the voters’ approval of Prop 206,” reads the amicus brief.
“Democrats are standing with working families and the voters of Arizona,” said Rios in a press release. “Today, we urged the court to do the same. Protecting the higher minimum wage set by prop 206 is vital to building a sustainable economy.”
State Representative Bob Thorpe stated, “Arizona and our nation have suffered under 8-years of failed liberal policies. We were sold a bill of goods when we were told that Medicaid Expansion and Obamacare were going to solve all of our healthcare problems, and yet both have proven to be ineffective, costly disasters.”
“Now, our Legislative Democrat minority leaders have the audacity to actually claim that the problem is that we did not dump even more taxpayer money into programs like AHCCCS,” said Thorpe. “Once again, the tax and spend liberals know, much better than our citizens, how to take and spend the hard-earned money of our Arizona families and businesses.”
“History has proven that President Reagan’s policies of lowering tax rates both increased business activity and government revenue,” continued Thorpe. “Under Obama’s oppressive regulatory burdens and taxing policies, the U.S. economy experienced a lethargic 2.2% growth rate, which begs the question: did the recession every really end?”
“Under Reagan, the economy grew at 4.6%, with twice as many people gaining employment compared to Obama. Under the failed liberal Democrat policies, 7-million men between ages 25-54 are still chronically unemployed,” noted Thorpe.
“American voters from across our nation have repeatedly spoken by rejecting liberal Democrats and their policies,” said Thorpe. “Since 2010, there has been a net loss of 1,042 state and federal Democratic posts, including congressional and state legislative seats, governorships and the presidency. The 2016 elections were just one more repudiation of Democrat policies and ideology.”
Thorpe concluded, “If Arizona Republicans were doing such a bad job, then why do we still hold majorities in both state houses and every statewide elected post from the Governor on down? It truly baffles the imagination how Senator Hobbs and Representative Rios can make such outlandish claims with straight faces.”