Legislative Update: Republicans pass a budget overnight

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Senate Republicans passed a budget overnight. The spending plan includes a 1.3-billion dollar tax cut that mostly benefits the wealthy and negates a voter-approved education tax increase on higher-wage earners. The budget now moves to the house where it will be considered tomorrow. Earlier “today,” we got reaction to the senate’s overnight vote from Democrat Rebecca Rios, the Senate Minority Leader, and Republican Senator Paul Boyer.

To start off, we asked Senator Boyer what his thoughts were on the budget.

Senator Boyer: “I think this is a grand slam for the state of Arizona.” “The largest debt reduction in state history, 1.9 billion dollars, the largest tax cut in state history, and upon full implementation of the tax plan, the lowest flat rate of states who have an income tax.”

Senator Rios: “I think we missed a real opportunity and this is not a good budget for Arizonians and working-class families. I think this is a budget in which the wealthy will benefit a lot from this massive tax cut.”

We then asked why there was an emphasis on wealthy Arizonans.

Senator Boyer: “We know that high earners are mobile. We know that we’ve seen states like New York, Illinois, California in particular, they leave and they would leave if we didn’t do something to mitigate the harm. The state is protecting those high earners and making sure that they can continue to create jobs here in the state of Arizona.”

We then asked Boyer what Kind of message this sends to voters.

Senator Boyer: “This will not impact 208 one bit, in fact, we added 55-million of ongoing permanent structural spending to k-12.”

We then asked Senator Rios if there would be considered no harm done provided that the money is still there from prop208.

Senator Rios: Explained that prop 208 is unfair to voters when it comes to teacher pay, funding, and class size. She also feels that in doing this, we have given up an opportunity to help fund Arizona as a whole. Rios also proceeded to add that the argument of needing to add to our rainy day fund was null since our rainy day fund is currently flush.

Senator Boyer: Explained that if there is a downturn in the future, this budget will save us. When it comes to funding students in title one schools, he said that the program that is included isn’t meant to fund all of the students at these schools, but the ones that actually need the help.

Democrat Rebecca Rios, the Senate Minority Leader, and Republican Senator Paul Boyer.

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