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State budget finally passes

By Howard Fischer

Phoenix, AZ – State lawmakers have finally approved a revised budget to bring the current budget into balance. Arizona Public Radio's
Howard Fischer reports.

The plan to make up the $1.2 billion gap between revenues and
expenses includes tapping the state's rainy day fund and some
budget cuts. Most are small, though the three universities will
have to pare spending by a combined $14.7 million. But the plan
also includes some one-time fixes, like paying the money owed to
public schools in June the following month. That moves the
expense into the next budget year. Sen. Ron Gould complained that
kind of thinking just pushes off the problem.

(I did not come come down here for smoke and mirrors solutions. I
came down here to balance a budget. I've seen fiscal
irresponsibility ever since I've been down here. You guys are
leading the state into a crisis. This is flat-out ridiculous.)

But Sen. John Huppenthal called the deal a good start.

(We're securing fund sweeps of $300 million, which are cuts. So
that's $300 million in money that will not be spent. And we're
securing substantial budget reductions.)

Huppenthal conceded more will need to be done to deal with next
year's anticipated $2 billion deficit. There will be a fight. The
governor hopes to bridge much of that that gap with borrowing
while most Republicans want sharp spending cuts. For Arizona
Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.