Members of Arizona’s Republican-led legislature mocked Gov. Katie Hobbs over her political head-fake feigning support for the Ducey administration’s school choice program. In an official commendation signed on January 18, 2024, Hobbs declared the week of January 21-27 as Arizona School Choice Week. Her proclamation prompted a mixed response, with the National School Choice Awareness Foundation praising Hobbs for supporting school choice while AZ senate Republicans expressed disbelief.
In a rebuttal posted to X, Republicans were quick to recall Hobbs’ attempts to kill school choice through budget cuts. It read, “This has got to be a JOKE, right? Governor Hobbs has been dead set on dismantling Arizona’s universal school choice program since she entered office. She currently wants to pull nearly 50,000 students out of the program, as reflected in her budget proposal.”
🤔This has got to be a JOKE, right? Governor Hobbs has been dead set on dismantling Arizona’s universal school choice program since she entered office. She currently wants to pull nearly 50,000 students out of the program, as reflected in her budget proposal.
— AZSenateRepublicans (@AZSenateGOP) January 23, 2024
In her 2023 State-of-the-State address, Hobbs called for the repeal of the state’s wildly popular and successful universal school voucher program. Passed by then-Governor Doug Ducey, the program allows parents to enroll their children into any school, so long as it meets state requirements. The vouchers, also known as ESAs, resulted in record numbers of non-public school enrollments, much to the chagrin of Democrats and their Arizona teacher’s union donors.
Arizona Democrats, led by Hobbs, are making a concerted assault on ESAs, so Hobbs’ attempt at appeasement by declaring “School Choice Week” is disingenuous at best. However, given Hobbs’ epically low polling, it’s unsurprising. It’s unclear whether Hobbs will use executive action to curb ESAs, especially with the projected budget shortfalls for 2024. However, the Republican-led legislature supports ESAs and has vowed to fight any attempt to cut the program.
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