For the past three years, the people of Arizona have been forced to deal with the fallout of a struggling economy, rising prices, and an inflation rate that, at one point, was the highest in the country. With this in mind, Republicans got to work, delivering the largest tax cut in state history and following that up with a budget that included tax rebates for Arizona families.

But Governor Katie Hobbs clearly has much different priorities when it comes to your hard-earned money. True to her 10-year history of pulverizing Arizona taxpayers, Hobbs announced during her State of the State address in January her desire to—you guessed it—massively grow the size of state government. And judging by the executive staff hiring spree that Hobbs is on as governor, it’s clear that this isn’t just empty rhetoric.

Last month it was discovered that in just over a year Katie Hobbs has expanded her office staff by approximately 40 employees, a whopping 40% increase over the previous administration. Among these new hires are:

    • Six people working in the newly created Office of Resiliency.
    • Four new employees in the Office of Tribal Relations.
    • Three new in-house attorneys, bringing the total number to four

That’s right. The Arizona Governor’s Office now has six people working on “resiliency,” a department Hobbs created to further push the Green New Deal agenda on our state. What a joke.

So, how much is all this costing Arizona taxpayers? According to the report, in addition to 40 new staffers, the average salary under Hobbs is $10,000 more than it was under former Republican Governor Doug Ducey. All added together, the Katie Hobbs jobs program for her political cronies, paid for by Arizona taxpayers, has increased executive employment costs by over 50%!

In the meantime, Arizona is running a budget deficit while Hobbs tries to scapegoat school choice and our state’s historic tax cuts. But neither of these are the problem. The problem is spending. It’s always been spending.

Just five years ago, the legislature enacted a budget that included $10.1 billion in ongoing spending, plus $500 million in “one-time” expenditures ($10.7 billion total). By FY 2023, that number had exploded to nearly $15 billion in ongoing spending. And while the most recent budget negotiated with Hobbs kept ongoing spending at a lower trajectory, it included “one-time” outlays that brought the total budget cost to $17.8 billion!

But instead of reining in this spending, especially in the midst of our challenging economic times, Hobbs would rather blame tax cuts—ignoring the fact that despite these cuts, tax revenue has continued to climb largely due to the decision in 2019 to start taxing online sales.

Then, there’s Hobbs’ favorite target—the wildly popular Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program. Hobbs and her buddies in the teachers’ unions will tell you that ESAs are costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars and diverting funds from district schools. But the reality is the opposite. ESAs represent only a tiny fraction of all K-12 school spending, and taxpayers actually save money when a parent decides to leave a district school for a charter or private school. On top of that, what Hobbs and the teachers’ unions won’t tell you is that Arizona taxpayers are giving district schools more money than ever before. In fact, public school funding has soared to $15K per student, up from $10K just five years ago. Now, according to the Chief Financial Officer for the Arizona Department of Education, our state’s public schools have over $1 billion in surplus.

If Hobbs really cares about making sure Arizona is “resilient,” she would start by making sure that the people of our state keep more money in their wallets. But she’ll never do that. Hobbs would rather flex her power as governor to create a multi-million-dollar program so her political friends can do phony baloney jobs and reverse the policies that have positioned our state as the envy of much of the nation. Now, it’s up to lawmakers to make sure the next state budget keeps her in check.

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