Arizona state budget agreement reaches critical phase

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Lawmakers are settling on an agreement for the Arizona state budget. At the heart of the matter is the state’s $1.3 billion deficit over the 2024 and 2025 fiscal years.

An initial budget showed the Governor and lawmakers had plans to cut costs at every state agency over the next year by 3.45%.

Mary Jo Pitzl from “The Arizona Republic” and azcentral.com joined “Arizona Horizon” to discuss the budget.

Pitzl explained the Arizona lawmakers settled this agreement because of “lots of cuts and sweeping money from various state agency funds. This is the money that they had for the agencies for future projects, sending back to the general fund, and cuts and sweep and transfers.”

This is an issue where both sides of the spectrum, far left and far right, come together to agree against the budget, she said.

Addressing the Republican’s viewpoint on the agreement, Pitzl explained, “A lot of Republicans against this budget mainly argued it was dumped on us without time to read. It’s a big budget: $16.1 billion in spending and 16 bills associated with it, many of which are lengthy. More importantly, they argued nobody was seeking their input until the budget leaked out last week.”

Pitzl continued, “On the Democratic side, the progressive members of the caucus said it’s a bad budget because it doesn’t spend the money on the right priorities, and we have done nothing with the voucher program which is costing the state more money, and it’s why we have a deficit. And why are we not addressing that?” said Pitzl.

The Governor came out to emphasize what she called “important investments” such as delivering childcare to working families, combatting the fentanyl epidemic and securing the border. Arizona received money from the national opioids settlement, and Attorney General Kris Mayes contends this money is hers to control.

Mary Jo Pitzl, "The Arizona Republic" and azcentral.com

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