House Speaker Rusty Bowers/Gage Skidmore via Flicker
By Nathan Brown | Arizona Capitol Times
The Arizona Legislature just ended a contentious 171-day legislative session, the third-longest in the state’s history. It was marked by bipartisan cooperation on a few issues but also by partisan clashes on topics such as the budget and voting rights, an audit of the 2020 vote in Maricopa County by the Senate that is still ongoing, and a contentious budget process that resulted in the passage of a 2.5% flat income tax. In a recent interview with the Arizona Capitol Times, House Speaker Rusty Bowers, R-Mesa, discussed the highlights and disappointments of the 2021 session.
What do you think were the biggest accomplishments of this year’s session?
Well, I have on a personal (level) the water legislation, I (think) will prove still to be very critical if we’re able to leverage a sizable appropriation into some type of long-term, large water quantity solution. … I think the tax cuts, the restructuring of our tax system to the extent we did, that was hugely important, and to Mr. Toma and Mrs. Cobb, they did far beyond that, they did great work this year. That would probably be one of the seminal accomplishments. Replenishing the unemployment insurance, replenishing that fund, getting that healthy again so we can lower the cost to employers and increase the reliability of the fund to those who need it during emergencies.