Home>Budget>AZ Legislature Adjourns ‘Sine Die’ after Budget Passage

State Representative Alma Hernandez at a press conference for HB2509 at the Arizona State Capitol building in Phoenix, April 25, 2023. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

AZ Legislature Adjourns ‘Sine Die’ after Budget Passage

Hard-won budget reflects cuts, funding transfers to squeek through

By Steve Kirwan, June 17, 2024 10:30 am

After a marathon “midnight oil” negotiation session Friday night, June 14, 2024, the AZ legislature eeked out a budget that left everyone wanting but achieved bipartisan dissatisfaction equally. A $1.4B deficit this year mandated some draconian cuts to programs that impact a wide swath of the citizenry, but the lawmakers blunted some of the more impactful cuts by redirecting funds from other programs. That process alone accounted for many of the objections.

In AZ, the passage of the budget marks the closing of each year’s legislative session, a point that Rep. Matt Gress cited as his reason for opposing the budget deal.

“I’ve been involved in the Arizona state budget since 2013, including serving as the state’s budget director,” Gress released in a statement. “The state budget is a policy document and a reflection of priorities. This year’s seems more focused on just ‘getting it done’ than ‘doing it right.’ I voted ‘no.’ There’s a reason there is bipartisan opposition. This is not a budget that reflects the shared priorities of Arizonans.”

Rep. Consuelo Hernandez, D-Tucson, held an opposing viewpoint. “I’m really proud that even though it was not a perfect budget there are still wins,” she announced.

Several of the more contentious points focused on Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) regulations and opioid settlement fund usage.

Rep. Laura Terech, D-Phoenix, tweeted about the inclusion of ESA concerns.

“The first several budget bills have passed. Now we’re returning to vote on the rest, including the K-12 bill. I am looking forward to voting through the first ESA reforms we’ve seen in the state of Arizona since the inception of vouchers,” she wrote.

Rep. Alma Hernandez, D-Tucson, acknowledged the difficulties of creating a budget in a divided government. Before voting in favor of the budget, she stated, “We will never see a perfect budget, that is delusional. Truly.”

Shortly after passing the budget, the legislative session was adjourned sine die, marking the end of one of Arizona’s most spirited sessions.

Governor Katie Hobbs announced that she will sign the hard-battled budget. Shortly after the budget passed, her office released a statement announcing, “Arizonans can rest assured that their state has a balanced budget. I’m thankful for members of the legislature who came together, compromised, and passed this bipartisan agreement.”

 

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