Democratic Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs appears to be trying to take undue credit for a tax rebate being sent to taxpayers even though she not only opposed the implementation of the credit in the first place, but is also apparently taking an end run around a provision that specifically prevents her office from taking credit for giving citizens the rebate.
Hobbs’ administration recently sent out a short press release to Arizona taxpayers on Tuesday claiming that “Governor Hobbs puts money back into Arizonan’s pockets” and hinted that the $750 rebate for families with dependent children was a result of her efforts.
“Today, Governor Katie Hobbs officially announced the deployment of the Arizona Families Tax Rebate, which will put money back in the pockets of nearly 750,000 Arizona families. The first rebate of its kind, these funds were made possible by Governor Hobbs’ bipartisan budget, which received supermajority support in both chambers. Eligible families will have an opportunity to receive up to $750 in tax rebates. Governor Hobbs also launched a website where Arizonans can check their rebate status,” the Tuesday press release states.
“As someone who at times relied on assistance to get by, I know that every penny counts,” Hobbs adds in the message. “I made a promise that when I took office, I would take every opportunity I had to make it easier for Arizonans to provide for their families and lower the cost of living. I am so pleased to be able to deliver this relief with the Arizona Families Tax Rebate.”
The governor is also seen in a video talking about the tax rebates in the 2023 budget, according to the Arizona Capitol Times.
“I made a promise that when I took office, I would take every opportunity I had to make it easier for Arizonans to provide for their families,” Hobbs is seen saying in the video, the paper reports. “I am so pleased to deliver this relief.”
Hobbs openly opposed this rebate, though. And Republicans also say that the governor is violating actual language in the budget that states that the governor’s office cannot take any credit for the rebate.
The budget states that Hobbs may not take credit for the measure she wanted stripped from the budget bill.
A provision specifically states: “No letter relating to the Arizona families tax rebate issued under this section shall be sent from the governor’s office, be sent on the governor’s letterhead or reference the governor’s office.”
However, the paper adds that, strictly speaking, Hobbs did not directly take credit for the one-time tax credit that was authorized by the 2023 budget.
The rebate comes after the state ended up with a $2 billion budget surplus and the legislature initiated measures offered by both Republicans and Democrats to return the excess money to the people through various rebates and reimbursements in the budget.
Instead, Hobbs has danced around any direct mention of the tax rebate by having her underling sign a press release about the issue, the paper stated.
Rob Woods, Hobb’s hand-picked Director of the Arizona Department of Revenue, reportedly issued a press release saying that the tax rebate was implemented as “a result of this administration’s 2023 bipartisan budget.” And added, “And we could not be more excited to put money back into your pocket.”
Woods’ missive does not mention Hobbs by name, but Republicans say that by claiming the tax rebate is part of “this administration’s 2023 bipartisan budget,” that means Hobbs is taking credit for the measure.
GOP State Senator Jake Hoffman who chairs the Arizona Freedom Caucus, blasted Hobbs for her end run around the letter of the law.
“Unfortunately, Katie Hobbs has once again violated state law,’’ Hoffman said. “We’re exploring our legal options.”
On the other hand, Hobbs press aide Christian Slater disputed the accusation, saying, “We’re in compliance with all laws.”
Hobbs wanted a permanent tax credit added to the bill, not the temporary one instituted to pay back a budget surplus. But Slater reiterated the governor’s talking points, saying, “This is part of the bipartisan budget that the governor signed. And she’s proud to be putting money into Arizonans’ pockets.”
Hoffman, though disagrees and says that since the press release and video statements are conveyed by websites carrying the state’s “arizona.gov” web address, then it is, indeed, a statement by Hobbs herself.
Hoffman also scoffed at the governor’s sudden delight over the very provision she campaigned against.
“Despite her initial lack of support for the Arizona Freedom Caucus’ tax rebate during budget negotiations, I’m happy she now sees how conservative policy is helping everyday families,” Hoffman said. “And given her newfound support for our policy agenda, she can expect to see much more of it when the Legislature reconvenes in 2024.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.