Despite attempts by Senate Appropriations Chairman John Kavanagh and Senate President Warren Petersen to elicit statutory participation, Democrats refuse to engage with Republicans on the state budget. Governor Hobbs had expressed some conciliatory remarks regarding budget cuts in her SOTS address, leading to hope among Republicans for a more bipartisan approach. However, after seeking input on areas of consideration for cuts and continued funding, Democrats signaled their intent to remain silent.
According to a press release issued yesterday, Petersen accused the Democrats of playing “partisan games.” Not only has Senate Minority Leader Mitzi Epstein failed to respond or even acknowledge Kavanagh’s attempts at communication, but she also notified the Speaker that she has directed Democrats not to interact in any way on the budget.
“It’s unfortunate we’re kicking off this legislative session with Senate Democrats playing games at the expense of our taxpayers. It’s time to be adults,” stated President Petersen. “We want all lawmakers to be at the table during budget negotiations, as the citizens of Arizona expect of their elected leaders, but we’ve heard nothing but crickets from the Minority Leader on her statutory obligation. We may have no other choice but to move forward without their input.”
The Arizona Globe has contacted Minority Leader Epstein for comment and will report back with any response.
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