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Arizona House Democrats Abstain In Budget Protest To Deny GOP Quorum
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Arizona House Democrats Abstain In Budget Protest To Deny GOP Quorum


Every single Democratic lawmaker in the Arizona House did not show up for legislative business on Tuesday, preventing their Republican colleagues from moving forward on a budget that includes a $1.7 billion tax cut aimed primarily at the wealthy.

The Arizona Legislature is working feverishly to pass a budget by June 30 in order to avoid a government shutdown. Democrats claim that Republicans, who hold the majority, are rushing through the package without their input or enough public debate. Democratic members did not come to the floor Tuesday, denying Republican leaders a q

The action was reminiscent of a recent battle in Texas, where Democratic legislators staged a dramatic walkout last month to prevent a bill restricting voting rights from becoming law.

Republicans have exactly 31 members in their caucus, but several of them were not in Phoenix on Tuesday. Democrats have 29 members.

“Before we debate this, the public and our members need more time to analyze the measures Republicans negotiated in secret and stuffed into their budget plan, and what the long-term implications will be for our state,” House Democratic Leader Reginald Bolding said in a statement, adding, “Dropping a dozen new amendments this morning that rewrite major portions of their plan to vote on this afternoon.”

State Rep. Daniel Hernandez (D) told Stardia that Democrats had less than an hour to review the budget this morning, and that in his five years in the legislature, Democrats had never taken such a dramatic step to protest GOP measures as they did on Tuesday.

“This is what happens, where the deal gets negotiated in the middle of the night and they drop it, trying to force a vote on it,” Hernandez explained. “We weren’t going to allow them to do that without at least letting the public know what’s in the budget, getting them to understand that this is the biggest tax cut Arizona has ever done, but it’s not for every Arizonan. It’s for the people who are making the decisions.

Republicans have already warned that if a budget is not completed in time, they will blame Democrats for a shutdown.

“If we don't pass a budget, our state government will shut down, and Democrats will be held accountable,” state Rep. Joseph Chaplik (R) tweeted Tuesday.

Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R) chastised Democrats for blocking the budget vote, reminding them of the consequences for state residents if the government shuts down. “Could we consider growing up and shouldering the responsibility together and thinking of ‘together’ more than ‘individual’ and pass a budget?” he asked.

According to a recent report by the state legislature's independent budget watchdog, the Republican tax cut would overwhelmingly benefit Arizona's wealthiest residents.

Regarding the budget, Hernandez stated on Tuesday that Republicans were "unwilling to work with us and they're being completely unreasonable," and that Democrats didn't have many options other than denying them quorum to force them to the table.

In the Arizona Senate, Republicans commissioned a partisan postelection "audit" of the 2020 presidential results in Maricopa County, the state's largest county, which Joe Biden won; the audit has been widely discredited as a sham, carried out by a firm run by a Donald Trump supporter and largely funded by Trump supporters.

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