Legislature Passes "Skinny Budget" And Legislation to Address COVID-19
On Monday, the Arizona legislature completed its work to pass the budget for the fiscal year and adjourned until April 13.
With a few exceptions, the “skinny” budget strips out one-time funding and increases spending in areas that require annual adjustments such as K-12 education and AHCCCS. The budget also continues to phase in the 20 percent teacher pay increases and the restoration of district and charter additional assistance in K-12 education.
Building renewal for district schools has increased by $119 million of which $28 million is supplemental funding for the current fiscal year.
Using Federal Child Care Block Grant Funds, the budget funds childcare subsidies for 3,000 additional children and increases rates for childcare providers with quality ratings of 3 to 5 stars.
The bare bones budget leaves out several of CAA’s priorities for children and families:
- Restoring supports to grandparents and other kinship caregivers who step in when parents are unable to care for their children
- Raising the childcare subsidy reimbursement rates for all childcare providers to help working parents with high out-of-pocket costs
- Providing comprehensive dental care for pregnant moms participating in Medicaid/AHCCCS
In response to the evolving issues surrounding COVID-19, the legislature authorized $50 million for deposit into the new Contingency and Safety Net Fund. These funds may be spent only after the governor declares a state of emergency. These funds are restricted to housing assistance, including eviction and foreclosure prevention; services for persons experiencing homelessness, including shelter, clothing, food and transportation; food bank operations; and assistance to businesses with fewer than 50 employees, health care providers and nonprofit organizations.