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Arizona Lawmakers Close to Passing $18 Million Budget Despite Democratic Opposition

Arizona lawmakers are on the brink of passing a budget totaling nearly $18 million, receiving bipartisan support from Republicans and some Democrats.

However, Governor Katie Hobbs is facing resistance from fellow Democrats due to concerns over the state school voucher program.

The major obstacle in getting fellow Democrats on board with the budget lies in the state school voucher program.

This program allows parents to use public money to send their children to private schools, a controversial initiative that has gained popularity in recent years.

However, the costs associated with the program have skyrocketed, exceeding $5 million and drawing funds away from other schools in the process.

Governor Hobbs had previously promised to limit the growth of the school voucher program, but the proposed budget currently lacks such limitations.

Republicans, who have made school vouchers a top priority, have been supportive of the program, while Democrats warn that it diverts vital funding from other schools.

Critics argue that improvements are necessary and are calling upon Governor Hobbs and lawmakers to address the issue.

The Education Savings Account (ESA) program, which administers the school vouchers, claims to enforce stricter accountability measures to ensure transparency and determine who is taking advantage of the program.

Supporters defend the position of the ESA, stating that it requires more accountability from participants.

Beth Louis, a spokesperson for the program, downplayed the budget concerns, calling them a small first step.

However, the timeline for budget approval remains uncertain.

The Senate’s plan is to move the budget forward, but it is unclear when it will be officially approved.

Despite the ongoing debate and Democratic opposition, Arizona lawmakers are close to passing the nearly $18 million budget, paving the way for funding distribution across various sectors in the state.

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