Denise "Mitzi" Epstein

I am working to keep Arizona competitive and prepared for our future. Nobody wants to turn on their faucet and find sand in the sink.

I have participated in economic and infrastructure forums in Arizona regularly in the 21 years I have lived here because we need long-term plans to prepare for the future.  

I believe it’s important for you to know where I stand on the issues of water, infrastructure and our budget choices.

I will vote to protect Lake Mead and work collaboratively for conservation solutions.  I speak up when a bill threatens our water supply with contamination.

I fought for amendments that would have provided more assurance and careful science to test groundwater-injection plans. Those amendments would have saved money for Arizonans, as well as protected us from the cost of potential lawsuits. Water must be clean and safe for businesses and most importantly, for homes.   

Our state budget is a reflection of our values. I oppose plans to spend every dime as fast as we get it. Instead, we must prudently prepare for our future with long-term plans that include everybody’s voices.  

To keep our infrastructure safe and reliable takes funding. In the past 10 years, our state expenditures have not kept up with growth in people and inflation. Well, that explains why the Red for Ed movement happened!   Thank you, Red for Ed supporters for speaking up!

The 10-year average expenditure growth rate has been 1.2 percent, which is 1.7 percent below inflation and population growth. As we added more people, we did not add an equal amount of spending on education and many other state responsibilities.

I believe in transparency, so I’m telling you directly that we, as a state, need to invest in our infrastructure and stop kicking that can down the road. You know that if you don’t change the oil in your car regularly, it costs a heap of cash to repair it or replace it. Likewise, if we don’t repair and maintain our infrastructure regularly, it will cost a heap more in the future.  

In my experience at Citicorp and at manufacturing corporations, we monitored and measured new programs, but too often in state budgeting, a new program is started and the results are ignored.  

It is imperative to monitor past budget decisions and change or end programs that are not working, such as old carve-outs that are not helping.  

The key to balancing growth with needs is to do it proportionally every year. Instead of giving a windfall tax cut to a small special interest group in the years of bounty, that’s when we need to invest in infrastructure: waterways, roadways, communications and schools.

Those investments give us a triple benefit. We pay a lower price by attending to this maintenance each year instead of kicking the can down the road, we don’t have to raise taxes and our investments in quality roads and schools make living in Arizona a delight!

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