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Arizona Lawmakers End Legislative Session

Arizona lawmakers completed the 2017 legislative session Wednesday by adding millions of dollars in new and expanded tax breaks for business and by extending a financial assistance program for needy families.

Sponsors say the tax breaks will help economic development.

Legislators approved funding another $10 million in state income tax credits for so-called "angel'' investors who put money into qualified small businesses. They also revamped a fund that provides grants to very small businesses known as microenterprises.   

House minority leader Democrat Rebecca Rios said when it comes to tax breaks, enough is enough.

“Yet we give away all these tax credits with the intent of bringing in more revenue," Rios said. "But it's the same size budget a decade later with half a million more people in Arizona. So where's all this revenue that's flooding into the state?"

Republican House speaker JD Mesnard responded.

"Not taxing something is not the same thing as giving it away," Mesnard said. "Giving it away suggests we own it. We don't. This is taxpayer money we are talking about. And we are talking about not taxing it as much."

Separately before sine die, they gave final approval to restoring lifetime eligibility for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to two years.

Gov. Doug Ducey limited the TANF program to one year when he first entered office in 2015.

Still considered the strictest emergency fund program for the poor in the nation, Arizona’s requirements block an estimated 30 percent of the poor who would qualify in another state for a second year of support.
It also expels anyone who fails to follow specific rules, including failing to show for a job counseling session or missing a child’s immunization appointment.

In Arizona, a family of four receives about $270 a month from TANF if their total household income is less than $5,022 a year.