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Arizona Legislature Passes $9.6 Billion Budget

Mark Henle/The Republic

The Arizona Legislature has passed a $9.6 billion budget after a week spent wrangling over additional funding for K-12 schools that wasn't included in the initial agreement.

Lawmakers debated until nearly 2 a.m. Wednesday morning before approving a spending package for the state budget year beginning July 1 that included a small increase in funding for several school line items.

Democrats attempted to restore a health insurance program for children of the working poor that was closed to enrollment in 2010 amid a state funding crunch. They were unable to amend the budget to include the Children's Health Insurance Program, known in Arizona as KidsCare. Arizona remains the only state that doesn't participate in the program.

The minority party also tried to add an additional $116 million to the K-12 school budget. They pointed to the upcoming vote on a school funding referendum known as Proposition 123 as the promised first step and the small budget increase in the state funding proposal as inadequate.

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