State lawmakers gave final approval Monday night to a $9.23 billion budget — more than Senate Republicans originally wanted to spend, but less than sought by Gov. Jan Brewer and House members. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer explains.
The deal gives some extra money to the state’s three universities. There’s also cash for district-sponsored charter schools and even help for Prescott with its higher retirement fund assessments after the payouts following the deaths last year of 19 firefighters at Yarnell Hill. Republican representative John Allen went along even though the budget is not really balanced: There’s more money going out than coming in, with the difference made up with what’s left over from the now-expired temporary 1-cent sales tax surcharge.
“This budget does not go far enough to keep the money that people earn in their own pockets. Too much money is taken out of the pantries of the taxpayer and put on to the public system for things that people would not choose to spend their money on,” Allen said.
But, Democratic senator Olivia Cajero Bedford said the state could have spent more and invested in public education.
“But we have given away tax credits to corporations, student-tuition tax credits, tax breaks, all that money from the taxpayers not going to the general fund that should be shared by all,” Bedford said.
An aide to Gov. Jan Brewer said she needs to review the plan before deciding whether to sign it.