Arizona State Dist. 5 Representative Regina Cobb gave the La Paz County Board of Supervisors an overview of the recently ended session of the State Legislature at their May 21 meeting. She made particular mention of legislation to waive penalties against La Paz County for having exceeded their spending limit for the past four fiscal years.
Cobb sponsored HB 2653, the bill that waived the penalties for exceeding the spending limit. It was introduced to the legislature May 3. It was approved by the House, 31-29, on May 4 and then approved by the Senate, 21-9, later the same day. It was signed into law by Gov. Doug Ducey May 16.
HB 2653 was fast-tracked to replace an earlier bill, HB 2290, which was one of 10 bills Ducey vetoed April 20. According to the Phoenix Business Journal, Ducey told House Speaker J.D. Mesnard to send him a state budget that would grant teachers a 20 percent pay increase by 2020 and restored additional funding to the schools.
This was occurring at the same time as the “Red for Ed” movement was holding demonstrations at the state capitol and was planning for a statewide teacher walk-out April 26.
Cobb told the Supervisors she fought with Ducey over the budget, which may explain his veto of HB 2290.
On another matter, Cobb said the legislature shifted many of the expenses shifted to the counties in 2008-10 recession back to the state. She added that the state’s budget is in good shape.
“Financially, we’re sitting in a fine situation,” she said.
Cobb thanked the Supervisors for their support in the past year.
District 1 Supervisor D.L. Wilson thanked Cobb for how hard she fought for the bill to waive the spending limitation penalties.
Cobb also congratulated La Paz County for approving Prop 401, which raised the county’s spending limitation for a year. She said she hoped the permanent spending limit increase on the November ballot also passes.
La Paz County has not increased its spending limit, except for inflation and population growth, since the county was formed in 1983. Cobb noted the county La Paz’s spending limit was based on, Greenlee, has increased theirs several times in the same period, and it’s now four times that of La Paz. She added that Greenlee County has grown.
“You need to increase your spending limit so you can grow here,” she said.
Cobb, a Republican, is from Kingman. She represents District 5, which covers La Paz and most of Mohave County. She’s a dentist by profession, and she’s served in the legislature since 2015. She is Vice Chair of the House Health Committee and serves on the Agriculture, Water & Lands Committee and the Children and Family Affairs Committee.