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Op-ed: Arizona Republicans are failing to make life more affordable for families

Op-ed: Arizona Republicans are failing to make life more affordable for families

State Representatives Alexander Kolodin, Joseph Chaplik and Justin Heap, State Senator Jake Hoffman, State Representative Austin Smith and State Senator John Kavanagh speaking with the media at a press conference for the Arizona Freedom Caucus at the Arizona Capitol building in Phoenix, Arizona.

By Sen. Anna Hernandez

February 6, 2024

Being poor in Arizona is expensive, and despite the single-party control Republicans have had at the legislature, they have been unable—or more realistically—unwilling to do anything about it.

Last year, we had a budget surplus and the opportunity to make reality significantly better in Arizona for all people. But rather than work on honest, common-sense solutions to Arizona’s ongoing affordable housing crisis, our lack of groundwater management protections, and public school funding, the Arizona Freedom Caucus raised federal taxes on working families instead of investing in initiatives to make life in Arizona more affordable.

A taxable tax break

After the 2024 budget was passed last year, the self-proclaimed “most conservative” members of the Republican caucus failed to understand their own budget items and in turn raised federal tax liability for every Arizona family that received “The Arizona Families Tax Rebate.”

Republicans have consistently cried out that Democrats are all about taxing and spending but when you look at the evidence—their claim falls flat.

This month the Arizona Department of Revenue sent out an advisory to assist Arizona taxpayers as the 2024 tax filing season begins. The IRS has determined the Republicans’ “Arizona Families Tax Rebate” that was sent to eligible taxpayers is subject to federal income tax.

Unfortunately, this means that many Arizonans will be forced to pay more in federal taxes than they expected. In their zeal to pass an Arizona stimulus check, Republicans neglected to mention that a portion of it would have to be sent to Washington, DC.

It’s about priorities

When given the opportunity to invest back into the lives of everyday Arizonans, Democrats made historic investments in K-12 education, the Housing Trust Fund, and the creation of a Homeless Services and Shelter Fund.

On the heels of their flat tax rate scheme that slashed income taxes for the wealthy and decimated the State’s revenue, Republicans chose to create a rebate plan that cut out the lowest income earners and families that had new children in 2022 and 2023—and in turn, punished the rest of Arizona’s working families because of their consistent policies that provide welfare for the wealthy.

Now, all of the families that received the rebate are faced with a surprise tax bill from the IRS.

Republicans are decidedly more interested in crafting quick, sterile budgets that do not consider the full needs of all Arizonans, while Democrats are committed to crafting budgets that are sound—in policy and intention.

Now, because of their reckless spending and careless misappropriation of funds, families living paycheck-to-paycheck are now saddled with another hurdle to putting food on the table and making rent.

 

Author

  • Sen. Anna Hernandez

    Anna Hernandez is a Democratic state senator representing Arizona's 24th District, comprising Maryvale and parts of the West Valley. Hernandez currently services on the Judiciary and Elections Committees.

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