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Democrats release budget to help Arizona recover from pandemic

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."

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