Good News And Bad News From The Arizona State Capitol. Steve Williamson and Karen McClelland welcome Senator Mitzy Epstein, minority leader of AZ State Senate, to report on this year’s legislative session.
Epstein begins by detailing the nearly $18 billion budget that Democratic Governor Hobbs recently signed into law, saying, “The good news is that there are a lot of good projects that will be funded. And the bad news is that they’re all just one time. So, on the one hand there will be a lot of bridges and roads that will be built in various parts across the state. And we will make sure…I personally made sure…that our K12 schools have some inflation funding. The bad news is we don’t have anything next year.”
Despite the giveaways and pet projects the Republican majority included in the budget, Epstein says, “There are some wonderful points of pride in this budget. In addition to the K12 funding for ongoing covering inflation we have another $200 million for school buildings. There’s also unprecedented, historically large amounts of funding invested for affordable housing and homelessness.”
Responding to a question about Governor Hobb’s record-setting number of vetoes, Epstein says, “There was a reporter who said that Governor Hobbs was the veto queen. But I maintain only because our [Republican] Speaker and [Senate] President are the bad bill kings.” She adds, ““As you may know, the House passed 95 bills in one day before we broke for recess. The real tragedy of that is, not only were obviously many of those bills very controversial and…full of hate. In addition to that, 95 bills in just a few hours means that none of them got a full debate. Going through 95 bills all in one day was irresponsible.”