Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Bipartisan Budget Bringing Relief to Arizonans During COVID-19 Crisis Moves to Governor Ducey’s Desk

Senate Democratic Leader David Bradley released the following statement on the House and Senate's
passage of an emergency bipartisan budget that has now been transmitted to the governor’s office. 

"The House and Senate joined together to pass a bipartisan budget that will bring relief to
Arizonans in this difficult time. The bills have now been sent to Governor Ducey’s desk
where we hope he signs them expeditiously. The budget passed by the Senate and House
is a result of genuine bipartisan collaboration done with the singular goal in mind of
protecting the Arizonans from this virus and the damaging effects it will wreak on our people.
This legislation is only the first step in responding to this crisis and we will continue
working to bring aid and assistance to our fellow Arizonans in the weeks to come. 

"The bipartisan budget does, however, reinforce the safety net for Arizonans
who were already vulnerable and whose lives are now most at risk by increasing
eligibility for unemployment insurance, providing flexibility for extending TANF benefits,
stability for our developmentally disabled service providers, and ensuring our water is safe to drink.

"This budget also creates the Crisis Contingency and Safety Net Fund,
which will provide $50 million to be used at the governor's discretion, with immediate
disclosure and transparency to the public, during this declaration of a public health emergency. 
Although we trust the governor to make the right choice and do what is in the
best interest of Arizonans with these funds, we will surely be keeping a close
watch to ensure the funds are spent in a way befitting this crisis.

"This fund will help reinforce homeless shelters and services as they deal with higher
demand while maintaining new social distancing practices. It will provide assistance for
small businesses and nonprofits, including providers of medical services for our most
vulnerable populations, to ensure these businesses and organizations can ride out this storm
and return to viability as quickly as possible. It should help food banks provide sustenance
for struggling families and it should provide rental and foreclosure assistance to keep them in their homes.

"These are extraordinary times and we thank our Democratic and Republican
colleagues in the House and Senate for swiftly working together for the greater good.
Neither side got exactly what they wanted, but that is how negotiation works.
The reason we are here, what we were elected to do, is to make difficult decisions
that are in the best interest of Arizonans. When we return following this recess on April 13th, 
we hope this spirit of cooperation will continue. There is still much to be done to move our great state forward.”