Hobbs defends budget negotiations amid criticism from some Democrats

By Ben Giles
Published: Monday, May 15, 2023 - 2:47pm

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signs into law a bipartisan budget
Arizona Governor's Office
Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signs into law a bipartisan budget agreement on May 11, 2023.

The budget process and end result — a $17.8 billion spending agreement reached by Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs and Republican leaders — left some legislative Democrats frustrated with their new governor.

A key lament for Democrats was the lack of any cap or delay in the growth of Arizona’s universal school voucher program. But the dissatisfaction was broader — minority leaders in the House and Senate say Hobbs left their party out of negotiations until a detailed budget plan had already been negotiated with GOP leadership in each chamber.

Hobbs disputed that on Monday, speaking with reporters at a press conference touting the $150 million deposit from the budget into the state’s Housing Trust Fund.

“We’ve been having conversations with Democrats about the budget since early in session,” Hobbs said.

“This is not a perfect budget,” the governor added. “I didn't get everything I wanted. Republicans didn't get everything they wanted. It's a compromise budget that we negotiated that got through the Legislature with a super majority of votes.”