On Tuesday, Democratic members of the Arizona state House refused to remain present for consideration of a controversial budget plan for the state, stopping the plan in its tracks (for now). The Arizona state House, which has a slim Republican majority, only requires the physical presence of a simple majority of members to conduct business, but a handful of Republicans had planned to participate in the proceedings remotely. Thus, Democrats had an opportunity to stop the proceedings from continuing.
The state House is now set to consider the budget proposal in question on Thursday of this week, adding about a couple days to the time in which concerned observers will have an opportunity to examine what has been put forward. As House Democratic Leader Reginald Bolding put it, Republicans “can’t simultaneously ignore the wishes of half the state and then take us for granted to pass a partisan budget.” Arizona state Rep. Daniel Hernandez Jr. (D) shared remarks about Democrats’ move on Twitter, writing as follows:
‘I just joined my fellow Arizona Democrats and walked off the floor of the Arizona State House to prevent a vote on the Republicans’ irresponsible $1.7 billion tax cut for the wealthy. Proud of my brave colleagues. Stay tuned, this is happening right now.’
I just joined my fellow Arizona Democrats and walked off the floor of the Arizona State House to prevent a vote on the Republicans’ irresponsible $1.7 billion tax cut for the wealthy.
Proud of my brave colleagues. Stay tuned, this is happening right now.
— Daniel Hernandez Jr (@danielforaz) June 22, 2021
As the Associated Press put it, “Democrats vehemently oppose a $1.9 billion-per-year tax cut in the budget negotiated by Gov. Doug Ducey and top leaders of the House and Senate, all Republicans.” The plan would apparently act as a runaround a tax increase that Arizona voters recently approved to provide funding for schools. As the Associated Press also explains, under the proposal that Democrats blocked on Tuesday, “[wealthy] taxpayers would, in effect, be spared from a 3.5% tax hike approved by voters last year to pay for schools.” Ducey and other Republicans involved in the development of the plan have already pushed back the implementation of the proposed tax cut and settled on providing a larger than initially planned share of the funds to local governments.
The budget proposal also includes a provision that would punitively block Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, from going on the defense in election-related lawsuits. Hobbs has been a vocal opponent of a sham election audit that has been underway in Maricopa County, Arizona, under the supervision of Republicans from the state Senate. That so-called audit has been conducted in part by individuals without any experience auditing elections, and in the process, audit workers have gone so far off into paranoid conspiracies that they searched for bamboo fibers on the basis of the bonkers theory that fraudulent ballots may have been shipped in from Asia.