Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Democratic leaders file amicus brief supporting Prop 206

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Today Senate Democratic Leader Katie Hobbs and House Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios filed an amicus brief with the Arizona Supreme Court in the case of Arizona Chamber of Commerce, et al vs. State of Arizona, et al in support of the state's position that Proposition 206 does not trigger mandatory state expenditures.

The amicus brief, which can be downloaded here, explains:

  • The majority in the Legislature made the policy decision to cut provider rates since the Great Recession, without fully restoring them;
  • The majority in the Legislature made the policy decision to cut taxes, thereby reducing funds in the state coffers, at the same time it was slashing agency budgets;
  • Agency budget requests are merely requests and not mandatory, and;
  • The majority in the Legislature made the policy choice to use private contractors to provide services under Medicaid.

In summary, the amicus brief argues:
"The decision to cut tax rates and reduce the state's revenue is a policy choice within the discretion of the legislative majority. It is that same legislative discretion that allows the majority in the Legislature to slash appropriations for agency budgets, including provider rates. The combination of those discretionary actions – cutting taxes and reducing appropriations – has led to the fiscal crisis that AHCCCS and other agencies find themselves in today. It is not a result of the voters' approval of Prop 206."
Arizona Legislative Democrats have consistently, and for years, fought the reduction in provider rates and the tax cuts that deplete the general fund of the revenue necessary to meet essential state needs. We will continue to advocate for a full restoration of services for our most vulnerable populations.

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