Hobbs’ Budget Appears To Be Dead On Arrival

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On Friday, Governor Katie Hobbs released her proposed budget, featuring one-time funding to extend the Concealed Weapons Tracking System project and the elimination of the popular school choice program, known as Empowerment Scholarship Accounts. The Governor’s office claims that killing off school choice will save the taxpayers money, but Republicans disagree, pointing out that many of the education alternatives parents pursue cost less than the district schools they are leaving.

Arizona legislators reacted quickly to the governor’s proposals.

“House Republicans are reviewing Governor Hobbs’ budget proposal but based on the left-wing wish list of spending details disclosed so far, I’m confident to say that it will be dead on arrival,” Speaker of the House Ben Toma tweeted.

“This is the first time in the history of Arizona that a governor has tried to kick 45.000 students out of school,” tweeted Senate President Warren Petersen referring to Hobbs’ ESA repeal proposal.

House Democratic Leader Andrés Cano called the budget “fiscally responsible and balanced.”

“None of these proposed budgets end up passing, they are a rite of passage, a tradition, and a starting point for negotiations that will take months.” said one Capitol lobbyist, who has been watching the budget process for decades. “So no one needs to stress over the details, Hobbs doesn’t have the votes to pass her budget. It is just to show her side that she is fighting for their left-wing priorities.”

Along with the budget came the Governor’s description of items featured in her budget:

Education

  • Repealing Empowerment Scholarship Accounts
  • $332.2 million deposit in Building Renewal Grant funding
  • $198.6 million to retain education staff, increase the Base Support Level for schools by 3.04 percent
  • $172.7 million in new school construction for three schools already in progress, construction of nine new schools, as well as land and site condition projects
  • $40 million to expand the Arizona Promise Program and make higher education less expensive for an additional 10,200 students regardless of financial background or resources
  • $40 million to establish a new tuition scholarship program for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival eligible students
  • $20.5 million to establish a new Dual Enrollment support and advancement program
  • $15 million to address the enrollment increase for the Arizona Teacher’s Academy
  • $13 million to provide Free or Reduced Price Lunch at schools in low-income areas
  • $10.9 million to adjust District Additional Assistance formulas for inflation
  • $10.3 million in restored STEM and workforce aid funding to Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal Community Colleges
  • $14 million to double investment in rural community colleges
  • $5 million for broadband service in schools
  • $4.4 million to increase the state’s funding to students with a developmental disability, emotional disability, mild intellectual disability, or specific learning disability
  • $1 million in one-time funding to develop and implement a plan to conduct in-person inspections of school facilities

Health and Welfare

  • $463.5 million and$115.8million in federal fund expenditure authority to utilize year three of federal funding given directly to AHCCCS and DES respectively for home and community-based services programs
  • $257 million for AHCCCS program caseload growth and unwinding of federal Covid-19 policies
  • $150 million deposit into the Housing Trust Fund to assist families and individuals who are currently or at risk of becoming homeless
  • $50 million General Fund set-aside for a refundable child tax credit for low income families beginning tax year 2023
  • $24 million to make feminine hygiene products tax exempt
  • $20 million to expand the income eligibility cutoff for the KidsCare program from 200 percent of the federal poverty level to 300 percent of the federal poverty level
  • $16 million to make permanent a TPT exemption for infant diapers
  • $9.7 million to address an Arizona State Hospital staffing shortfall
  • $11.5 million to fully fund the adoption subsidy for adoptive parents, backfill federal funding, and implement the Positive Parenting Program
  • $6.1 million in ongoing funding to augment existing Title X dollars to provide expanded family planning services to low-income women, doubling the current amount provided to women in Arizona
  • $14.6 million to reduce caseloads for Adult Protective Services
  • $4.4 million to make permanent federal funds to increase Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP) Provider Rates
  • $2.5 million to expand the Healthy Families AZ program for voluntary home-visits to families that are at high risk of abuse or neglect, adding capacity for additional 300 families
  • $2.7 million for Medicaid enterprise system modernization
  • $200,000 in ongoing funding for pregnancy services including abortions

Government

  • $250 million one-time deposit into the Rainy Day Fund
  • $200 million one-time from the General Fund for employee retention pay in FY 2024, included in this amount is funding for an assessment of state employee market ranges
  • $114 million in one-time funding for building renewal throughout the ADOA building system, including Department of Corrections, State Fair, Game and Fish, Pioneers Home and the State Lottery Commission
  • $66.8 million in one-time funding from the General Fund to continue upgrading HVAC systems in DOC facilities
  • $50 million from the General Fund one-time to fortify the balance of the Health Insurance Trust Fund
  • $50 million one-time deposit into the newly established Rural Broadband Accelerated Match Fund
  • $48.7 million in one-time funding from the General Fund for the DOC to complete critical fire and life safety projects at the Douglas, Globe, Perryville, Tucson, Winslow and Yuma prison complexes as well as and the correctional officer training academy
  • $25 million one-time deposit into the State Match Advantage for Rural Transportation (SMART) Fund to help ensure that Arizona remains competitive in drawing down federal transportation grants
  • $20.6 million to continue replacing the state’s human resources system that serves 36,000 employees
  • $16 million in one-time funding to enhance broadband infrastructure at State facilities in rural Arizona
  • $15 million in one-time funding to install electric charging and advanced-fuel infrastructure to support the conversion of the fleet
  • $6.8 million as part of a 10 percent pay raise designed to recruit and retain nursing positions within state agencies
  • $6.3 million in one-time funding to upgrade the Corporation Commission’s eCorp system and fund the writing of application programming interfaces (APIs)
  • $3.9 million in ongoing funding to implement a 15 percent raise to fill vacancies and address high caseload in the Department of Child Safety unit
  • $3.5 million in one-time funding for the Department of Health Services (DHS) to finish replacement of the video security system for the Arizona State Hospital
  • $3.3 million in one-time funding for additional software as a service and staff costs associated with a new probation case management system
  • $3.1 million in ongoing funding to provide monthly litter removal services on selected stretches of interstate highways and highly visible routes statewide that do not receive regular litter removal
  • $585,000 to protect the state’s cyber infrastructure and create a more effective threat response
  • $442,700 in one-time and ongoing funding to replace the critical Arizona Department of Transportation computer-aided dispatch system

Natural Resources

  • $333 million one-time General Fund deposit into the Long-Term Water Augmentation Fund, the second of three equal installments totaling $1 billion spanning fiscal years 2023-2025
  • $15 million in one-time funding for a grant program to help rural, Latino, and Indigenous communities secure certified well drillers to access safe drinking water
  • $10 million one-time deposit into the State Parks Heritage Fund for park development, historic preservation, non-motorized trails, and outdoor education
  • $9.3 million in one-time funding for multiple agencies to support an enterprise approach aimed at increasing the water resiliency of State facilities and property
  • $7.5 million in one-time funding to install the needed public infrastructure for electric vehicles at state facilities including State parks, Motor Vehicle Division offices, Department of Child Safety and Department of Economic Security customer facing offices, and other highly used locations
  • $7.5 million in one-time funding to serve as a catalyst to partner with local entities in securing federal support and funding to restore interstate passenger rail service to Phoenix
  • $5 million in one-time funding from the General Fund to clean up perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals
  • $5 million in one-time funding to increase capacity at the Department of Water Resources to provide water resource management planning to local governments statewide and to identify groundwater shortages and set up Active Management Areas

Public Safety

  • $69.2 million, of which $56.7 million is one-time, to support operations at DOC
  • $17.1 million reallocation to the DPS patrol program for law enforcement duties in areas of greatest need
  • $12.2 million reallocation, of which $11 million is one-time, to provide grants to law enforcement in border communities to conduct border-related activities
  • $11.7 million in one-time funding to ensure Department of Public Safety vehicles meet recommended replacement benchmarks
  • $7 million in additional funding for the Major Incident Division (MID), which will conduct independent investigations of critical force incidents
  • $3.1 million to establish a body-worn camera (BWC) program for 200 officers within the Enforcement and Compliance Division (ECD) at the Arizona Department of Transportation
  • $3 million in one-time funding to upgrade DPS’s Master Site that houses servers that control all radio traffic within the digital system
  • $2 million to conduct a systems assessment of the Department of Corrections to examine contracts, staffing levels, retention issues, and identify opportunities for improvement and reform
  • $1.3 million increase to the Governor’s Emergency Fund for mitigation activities that will eliminate or reduce disaster impact and/or damage to public and private property
  • $514,100 in ongoing funding to backfill court fine revenue and Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant funding, so that the ACP can continue to provide services to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking
  • $494,500 in one-time funding to extend the Concealed Weapons Tracking System project
  • View the Summary Book HERE.
  • View the State Agency Book HERE.
  • View the Sources and Uses of State Funds HERE.

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