Arizona state budget (2012-2013)
The state’s fiscal year 2013 General Fund budget was $8.57 billion, but after accounting for non-General Fund monies, the state’s “all funds” budget totaled $27.8 billion.
Spending increases contained in the budget included:
- $89 million to K-12 education, including $40 million for a program to ensure that students are ready to read by third grade and $15 million in Capital Outlay Revenue Limit;
- $21 million for universities;
- $39 million for the seriously mentally ill;
- $20 million for the construction of 500 new state-run maximum-security prison beds and $16 million for 1,000 new private-prison beds.
- $17 million for automation projects.
The budget also included a $200 million deposit into the state's Budget Stabilization Fund (“Rainy Day Fund”), bringing the fund total to $450 million.
The Finance Advisory Committee told lawmakers that the projected surplus for fiscal year 2013 was $143 million. The temporary one-cent-per-dollar increase in the sales tax expired on May 31, 2013, with one month left in the fiscal year. Economists projected that the state would be in the red anywhere from $610 million to $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2014.
Mortgage settlement funds
The state enacted a law in May 2012 permitting $50 million of the $97.8 million the state received in the mortgage foreclosure settlement with major banks to be transferred to the state's general fund for fiscal year 2013.
The Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest filed suit in Maricopa County Superior Court to block the transfer of funds to the general fund budget.
Legislative proposed budget
On February 20, 2012, Republican leaders released their $8.65 billion proposed budget, 18 hours before committees were to review the budget. Democrats said that Republicans were being sneaky and expressed frustration about the quick speed at which they were expected to decide on the budget. Gov. Jan Brewer said that she would not sign the budget should it reach her desk.
The legislative budget spent $300 million less than the governor's proposed budget and the legislative budget set aside $200 million in 2013 to retire some debt early.
In April, Republicans said that they were close to reaching a budget agreement with Gov. Brewer but they released no details. Democrats said that they were not at the table but that the plan would reflect some of their ideas.
Governor's proposed budget
Gov. Jan Brewer announced in December 2011 that the state was not facing a deficit in fiscal year 2013, the first time the state was not facing a deficit for the coming fiscal year. Instead, budget director John Arnold anticipated a "temporary surplus" of between $1.3 billion and $1.5 billion for fiscal year 2013. As a result, Brewer said that the state would not be asking the largest counties to make a mandatory donation to the state's general fund as it had done for several years.
The governor's proposed budget can be accessed here. The governor's $8.96 billion budget proposal would have given state workers their first pay raise in five years if they opted out of the state's personnel system, and tended to Arizona's ailing technological infrastructure. It also saved $600 million for emergencies.
- The Arizona Republic, "Brewer signs budget approved by Legislature," May 7, 2012
- The News Star, "Budget turnarounds: Some states socking cash away," June 23, 2012
- AZCentral.com, "Good and bad news for Arizona in latest economic forecast," October 19, 2011
- Bloomberg, "States Steal Federal Foreclosure Funds at Their Own Peril," July 4, 2012
- Businessweek, "Judge considers use of mortgage settlement money," August 23, 2012
- InsideTucsonBusiness.com, "GOP lawmakers unveil state budget and the clash begins," February 23, 2012
- AZCentral.com, "Legislative budget better than Brewer's," Feb. 24, 2012
- Tucson Citizen, "Arizona GOP: Accord on budget is near," April 26, 2012
- The Arizona Republic, "Arizona won't raid counties' coffers," December 16, 2011
- AZCentral.com, "$8.96 billion budget proposal unveiled by Gov. Brewer," January 13, 2012