Katie Hobbs won’t list potential compromises but says budget is ‘very close’

Gov. Katie Hobbs speaks to reporters on April 12, 2023. By Cameron Arcand | The Center Square contributor

Republican state legislators and Gov. Katie Hobbs are apparently “very close” to putting forth a bipartisan budget proposal, the governor said Wednesday.

Hobbs has been at odds with the state Legislature’s majority since taking office in January, as she’s vetoed 48 bills so far this session.

Budget negotiations started tense, as Hobbs proposed a list of budget items, including controversial cuts to the Empowerment Scholarship Account program and the Border Strike Force, both hallmarks of the Ducey administration. She vetoed a “skinny budget” that was sent by Republicans to her desk in February that mirrored a Ducey-approved one.

Still, Gov. Katie Hobbs touted her first 100 days in office at a news conference Wednesday despite a rocky start with a divided state government.

In terms of what specific budget items are on the table for compromise, the governor refused to say.

“I’m not gonna get into specifics,” the governor told The Center Square.

However, a letter from House Speaker Ben Toma and Senate President Warren Petersen to Hobbs in February might give a hint as to what’s being discussed as bipartisan items.

“For example, we have several members who support additional funding for School Facilities building renewal, the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), and transportation projects,” the Republican leaders said at the time, The Center Square reported.

The 2024 budget year begins on July 1.

Republished with the permission of The Center Square.