AZ Dem governor joins with Republicans to pass state's budget

 May 12, 2023

Arizona Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs resorted to working with Republicans to pass the state's budget after opposition from some members of her own party.

The $17.8 billion budget marked the largest in the state's history, with some Democrats opposing the final version due to the state's school voucher program.

The voucher controversy

"The school voucher program, called Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, is intended to help public school students move to private schools if they feel their academic needs aren't being met," the Washington Examiner reported.

"The program has ballooned in cost since its introduction. The average voucher is $10,000, and the program as a whole is projected to cost $500 million next year. Democrats wanted to introduce a cap on the program and focus more funds on public schools," it added.

The change

"Hobbs was widely criticized for vetoing an earlier version of the budget. Since that time, she set a record for the most vetoes ever by an Arizona governor, which appears to have damaged her popularity numbers," the Arizona Independent reported.

"Passage of this budget is expected to alleviate some of the criticism that she has functioned in too partisan of a manner in her first year," it continued.

“BREAKING: AZ House passes the K-12 budget 43-16, betraying AZ public schools by failing to cap the universal ESA vouchers that threaten to bankrupt AZ,” tweeted the teachers’ union group, Save Our Schools.

“Thank you to the 16 #PublicSchoolProud lawmakers who took a principled stand by voting NO. Fighting for what’s right matters," it added.

Hobbs now has opposition from both conservatives and some liberals in her state over the negotiations she took to help pass the budget.

State Republicans have praised Hobbs over the decision, calling it a win for families in the state.

The new bipartisan effort shows that even in polarizing times that there are some issues where both parties are willing to work together on behalf of those they serve.

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