Horizon Roundup: State of the State, 2018 legislative session and Gallego challenger emerges
Jan. 5, 2018
Local journalists – Arizona’s Republic’s Dianna Náñez, Capitol Media Services’ Howard Fischer and Arizona Capitol Times’ Luige del Puerto – discuss expectations for next week’s Arizona Legislature session.
Governor’s State of Address
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey will set the tone for the legislative session, says del Puerto. The governor is expected to focus on the economy, and all three journalists agree there would be no surprise if Ducey steers the session towards a reelection campaign.
In regards to improving education in the state, Náñez says in the past the governor made clear there would be no tax increases. However, Náñez believes it raises the question of funding for other items on the legislative agenda. Fischer says there’s a chance that regulations will begin to diminish in an effort to save money.
Sexual Harassment at the Capitol
As long as the “greater national conversation,” as Náñez describes it, continues regarding sexual harassment, a similar conversation will also be one of the main topics of discussion on for the state. There have been multiple Arizona government officials, including Rep. Don Shooter, who has been accused of harassment. The conversations on specific individuals can only go so far if there isn’t public access to their report, del Puerto says.
Educators Propose Funding Plan
Another hot topic on the legislative agenda is education. With not enough revenue flowing in, del Puerto says a tax raise would be necessary to fund the kind of education system the state needs. Education leaders joined Arizona Horizon to discuss education funding for the state earlier this week.
Voter Initiative Restrictions
Less was discussed on restrictions, but Náñez emphasized that this topic will receive traction among voters. Fischer says when the legislature limits themselves to a single subject, they will attract more votes.
Cap on School Tax Credits
Arizona State Senate President Steve Yarbrough has “seen the light,” says Fischer. Yarbrough changed his stance on the corporate tuition tax-credit program he once supported. The funding of private schools through corporate income taxes is being argued during the session, and Fischer says the combination of taxes and education will make any resolution difficult.
Gallego Faces Primary Challenge
Arizona State Senator Catherine Miranda will run against Rep. Ruben Gallego for a seat in Congress. By publicly addressing his opponent as an “anti-choice, corporate-sponsored politician,” Gallego has set the tone for the race, Náñez says.