Gov. Doug Ducey signs 47 bills, vetoes 3, as deadline for action looms
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5 /AP) — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has signed 47 bills from the Legislation session that ended nearly two weeks ago but vetoed three, including a measure that would have asked voters in Maricopa County to extend a sales tax that funds transportation projects. But Ducey did not act Wednesday on arguably the most contentious bill of the year -- a measure he backs that is opposed by public education advocates to make every Arizona child eligible for a private school voucher. That is the last bill on his desk, and will wait for Thursday’s bill signing deadline.
The Republican governor’s veto letter for the transportation tax called it ill-timed because of inflation, too early because the current tax does not expire until 2025 and ill-advised because it calls a special election next spring. He also called the ballot language for the half-cent sales tax extension that has helped fund the Phoenix freeway system, roads and the light rail system for nearly 40 years deceptive and misleading. Maricopa is the only county in the state that must ask the Legislature for permission to ask their voters to impose a transportation tax.
This excise tax has been in effect since 1985. It’s funded upgrades to Loop 303, I-10, and Northern Parkway. Officials said it’s led to significant growth in the Southwest Valley. The tax is set to expire in 2025.
That veto didn’t sit well with Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. In response to that veto, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego tweeted that Ducey is “out of touch” and “clearly doesn’t trust the people of Arizona.”
“I feel like too much time having people drive him around and he just doesn’t understand the challenges of commuting in Maricopa County,” Mayor Gallego said. Arizona’s Family followed up with the mayor regarding her response. “We’re missing the moment. Right now there’s the infrastructure and jobs act money, the federal dollars. this local match helps us be more competitive,” she explained.
In a series of tweets, she called the move “shortsighted and anti-economic development.” Gallego said renewing the tax was supported by all the county mayors and different business groups. “I’m profoundly disappointed that the governor is turning his back on the resources we need to meet the explosive growth in our region,” she said. Gallego added a group of bipartisan leaders will find a solution for Ducey’s “mistake.” “The residents of our region demand and deserve it,” she said.
Gov. Doug Ducey cited inflation in his letter, explaining his decision to veto the bill. He wrote, “this is not the time to ask voters in Arizona to tax themselves.” He also said the plan doesn’t consider new federal money that’s available for infrastructure.
“This is really politics at its most disappointing. A bipartisan group of mayors, tribal leaders, business community leaders, developed a plan. We have 37 years of success in Maricopa County in putting these types of plans before voters,” Mayor Gallego said.
AZ Family Digital contributed to this report.
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