Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey wants funding for 97 new state government jobs and some Republican lawmakers aren’t happy about it.
Ducey, a Republican, implemented a hiring freeze shortly after taking office in 2015. He said it saved Arizona $21 million last year. His most recent budget proposal, however, calls for new positions across several departments, agencies, boards and commissions for a total cost of about $10 million per year, the Arizona Capitol Times reported.
Ducey spokeman Daniel Scarpinato pointed out the hiring freeze always came with exemptions for positions relating to health or safety of the public, employees directly involved in collecting state revenues and any “mission critical” employees.
“Do you see anywhere in the budget where we’re actually cutting government, cutting spending?” Rep. Anthony Kern (R-Glendale) said.
“This is not less government, bottom line.”
Kern said he would have a hard time voting for a budget that funded additional government employees and expected others to share the sentiment.
Scarpinato said that attrition had caused most agencies to fall below a target employee headcount set by the governor’s office.
Some of the new positions included 25 jobs at the Department of Child Safety.
“We keep throwing money and positions at DCS,” Kern said. He added since the agency had claimed to be making headway in its caseload, it shouldn’t need more workers.
He calculated the cost of the positions to be about $107,000 each.