OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Newly sworn-in Arizona Democrat Gov. Katie Hobbs is wasting little time making moves that will undoubtedly set up a big fight with Republicans in the state. In her newly-unveiled $17.1 billion budget proposal, Hobbs wants to defund the border strike force, among other things.
“She proposes to end Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship program, which allows any parent to use a portion of the state funds devoted to their student to pay for private school tuition or various other educational needs. Gov. Doug Ducey pushed for the expansion, which received national attention as one of the most comprehensive school-choice programs in the country. Hobbs projects $144 million in savings in the coming fiscal year and $1.5 billion in taxpayer savings over $10 years. She proposes eliminating the funding from an ‘underreported and unnecessary use’ and funneling that money into public schools,” the Arizona Sun-Times reported.
“In addition, she proposes requiring the state’s charter schools and any that accept ESA accounts to be subjected to the same requirements as public schools. Hobbs also proposes defunding another Ducey initiative in the Border Strike Force, an initiative within the Department of Public Services targeting border crimes and focusing on transnational criminal organizations. In terms of tax breaks, Hobbs proposes a $100 tax credit for each child of a family making less than $40,000 or a single filer earning less than $20,000. Hobbs also wants a tax exemption on diapers and feminine hygiene products,” the outlet added.
Hobbs must persuade Republicans in the state to pass any of her proposals and it’s not looking good for her.
“House Republicans are reviewing Governor Hobbs’ budget proposal but based on the left-wing wish list of spending details disclosed so far, I’m confident to say that it will be dead on arrival,” said Republican House Speaker Ben Toma.
Your budget is not gonna happen, @katiehobbs.
Tell your radical puppet masters to go back to the drawing board.
"Arizona "Gov." Hobbs’ New Budget Defunds Border Strike Force, Universal School Choice Program."https://t.co/I9P4eMvRuA
— Kari Lake War Room (@KariLakeWarRoom) January 15, 2023
Earlier this month, a state appeals court in Arizona agreed to expedite a hearing into a lawsuit brought by former GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake against Hobbs, who has since been inaugurated as governor.
The decision by the Arizona Court of Appeals comes after the state Supreme Court rejected her case earlier this month and remanded it to be heard first in lower courts.
The Epoch Times reports:
In a brief order, issued on Jan. 9 and made public the next day, the court ordered a reset of “the matter for a conference on February 1, 2023,” and agreed with Lake’s arguments that her challenge should be handled as a “special action petition.” The court date was reportedly scheduled for March.
Lawyers for Democrat Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs, the state’s former secretary of state, [have] until Jan. 17 to respond and argue why Lake’s challenge should be rejected, according to the order. Lake had petitioned both the state’s Appeals Court and Supreme Court after a Maricopa County judge rejected her case after a two-day trial in December.
Lake recently praised an Arkansas county court for its decision to reject electronic voting machines in all future elections, choosing instead to return to paper ballots in a move designed to boost election integrity and confidence in outcomes.
In a tweet lauding the decision by a Cleburne County court, Lake also included a link to a KARK report detailing the ruling:
Officials with the Arkansas Voter Integrity Initiative Inc. (AVII) said the vote was in response to AVII CEO Colonel Conrad Reynolds’ push for election computers to be removed from Arkansas elections. The decision will now require votes to be hand counted.
“The machines do not read the names on the ballots, instead, they scan barcodes, which humans cannot read,” Reynolds said. “They also utilize proprietary software that we are not allowed to examine. This all means voters cannot verify that their vote is being counted properly as mandated by state law.”
Last week, officials at Maricopa County announced they would conduct an investigation into widespread reports of problems with printers during the contested November election following complaints from scores of voters and legal action from Lake.