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State Legislative Update: What You Need to Know About the Budget

canstockphoto10144631Budget charts are circulating throughout the capitol that reflect proposals from Senate President Andy Biggs and House Speaker David Gowan. They are working to round up enough votes to pass the budget over the next two weeks. Now is the time for Arizonans to let our own state senators and representatives know what priorities we want them to vote for in the budget. Stay tuned for how you can weigh in on the budget before the final deal is done.

Here is a brief overview:

• Both the Biggs and Gowan budgets largely mirror the Governor’s January budget proposal with no restoration of KidsCare, no new investments in public school teachers or classroom textbooks or technology, no restoration of cuts to university education, no new funding for workforce development, and no shifts in strategy to strengthen families and avoid future costs.
• Both budgets include additional, unnamed permanent tax cuts of $30 million each year will make it harder to restore missing funding to public schools.
• Both budgets reduce state funding per student in public schools (adjusted for inflation) – in opposition to the clarion calls from parents, community leaders and business CEOs around the state.
• The major new investment in both budgets is $28 million to expand the Governor’s Border Strike Task Force — despite the statements from county sheriffs that it would be far more effective to properly fund basic operations of the Department of Public Safety and reverse the funding cuts to counties.
• For the Department of Child Safety, the proposals prioritize prevention and in-home services to reduce the growth in foster care; but these budgets cut $18 million out of the Governor’s proposal which may leave funding short of meeting basic needs.
• The budgets include a rainy day fund balance of $470 million plus a cash balance that doubles to more than $800 million by fiscal year 2019. Biggs and Gowan leave this funding unallocated, sitting in an account rather than building opportunity or strengthening Arizona’s economy.

Click here for a more detailed summary of the Biggs budget proposal.

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