House and Senate Democrats today released a joint budget proposal that would help Arizona's working families restore, recover and rebuild from the year-long COVID-19 pandemic. The $12.9 billion Democratic plan would raise teacher pay, make higher education more affordable, extend healthcare to uninsured children, address affordable housing shortages, reform an antiquated unemployment insurance system, invest in critical infrastructure and protect and uplift the most vulnerable Arizonans. The joint budget plan would: • Strengthen our economy by strengthening our public schools, community colleges and universities. • Raise teacher pay to 25th in the nation and on par with competing neighboring states like Colorado. • Make college more affordable and invest in job-creating New Economy initiatives. • Expand KidsCare health insurance to cover an additional 30,000 children. • Reform an unemployment insurance system overwhelmed by the pandemic and hampered by the second-lowest weekly benefit in the nation. • Provide a hand up for people facing or experiencing homelessness, those using our social safety net, vulnerable adults, and others left behind during a difficult year. • Support rural and Tribal communities through key investments in broadband, roads and education.

Senate Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios, D-Phoenix: "The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare all of our social inequities and misplaced priorities. Even now as Arizona families and small businesses still struggle with the pandemic, our colleagues on the other side of the aisle aren’t talking about investing in resources and programs to support them. They're talking about yet another massive tax cut. Arizona doesn't need more tax cuts that will only help corporations and the wealthiest. Arizona needs to fund COVID recovery for families and small businesses and invest in services and programs that benefit all Arizonans. Legislative Democrats are ready with a budget that invests in our schools, streamlines our ineffective unemployment insurance program, fixes inaccessible housing assistance programs, and helps small businesses stay afloat until our economy stabilizes. We're ready with immediate common-sense solutions to help Arizonans and we hope our colleagues join us in a budget that revitalizes Arizona."
House Democratic Leader Reginald Bolding, D-Phoenix: "Arizona remains one of the fastest-growing states in the nation, and one of the hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have the resources to help get working families back on their feet, help our students and teachers thrive as schools recover and re-set our economy toward sustainable growth. This is not the time for another massive, irresponsible and unsustainable tax giveaway for the wealthy. Our constituents are calling out for help, not tax cuts for an elite few, which moves that help farther out of reach. We invite Governor Ducey, the Speaker and Senate President, and all our Republican colleagues who want a brighter future for our state to work with us on turning these ideas into policy."

Senate Democrats released the following statement after SB1457 was transmitted to the Governor's desk for him to either sign into law or veto.

"Today the Arizona Senate sent to Governor Ducey's desk a dangerous and overly broad anti-abortion bill that will criminalize pregnant people who seek abortions and the doctors and medical staff who provide them with reproductive care. SB1457 criminalizes doctors who provide abortion care and uses people with disabilities as a scapegoat for anti-abortion rhetoric while threatening critical medical care procedures.

Every person in Arizona should have access to safe and affordable reproductive healthcare without intrusion from the government. Further, this bill lacks support from Arizonans. A Public Policy Polling survey finds that a strong majority-76% of Arizona voters believe that abortion should be legal, and that the government should not prevent a person from making that decision. This bill will endanger the lives of women and won't reduce the need for abortions. SB1457 is a dangerous bill that must be vetoed."

"This 'fraudit' sham has made Arizona into a national laughingstock once again and in the interest of democracy and election integrity it should be ended immediately. Republicans can't accept they lost the election and are riling up their base to almost feverish levels that could have dangerous consequences. Maricopa County performed multiple audits of its election as required under state law. More than 2 million lawful ballots were cast in Maricopa County and there has been zero evidence of fraud or misconduct. No matter how you voted, this election was administered with integrity, accuracy and transparency. Despite this, Republicans have already said they plan to use the audit to pass more voting rights restrictions on Arizona voters. Meanwhile, Legislative Democrats introduced numerous bills this session to expand voting access and all of those bills were blocked by Republicans. This audit is no more than a temper tantrum from those still upset that they lost the election and it is deeply damaging to the integrity of our elections and our democracy."