5 things to know about Arizona’s budget

Above: The Arizona Legislature approved an $11.8 billion state budget for fiscal year 2020 late Monday. (Photo by Anya Magnuson/Cronkite News) Business News | 22 May |

Legislative leaders in the Arizona House and Senate have reached an agreement with the Governor’s Office on a final budget plan for Fiscal Year 2020. The fiscally conservative, balanced budget invests in the things that matter like fulfilling pay raises for teachers, providing salary increases for law enforcement personnel, upgrading Arizona’s roads and bridges and more, while remaining structurally balanced and securing Arizona’s fiscal future.

View full details of the budget HERE.

Here are the top five things to know about Arizona’s balanced budget:

The plan is fiscally responsible and prepares for Arizona’s future.

The budget invests $542 million in Arizona’s Rainy Day Fund, bringing the fund to a record $1 billion. The budget also pays off $190 million in debt taken on during the Great Recession, resulting in annual ongoing savings of $24 million. Since 2015, Arizona has paid off $810 million in debt. The budget keeps a structural balance of nearly $300 million, ensuring Arizona’s finances remain on sustainable footing into the future. And the plan simplifies Arizona’s tax code with a focus on providing tax relief to middle and low-income individuals and families.

The plan fully funds teachers raises and speeds up the restoration of recession-era cuts.

The budget fulfills and protects the second phase of the 20×2020 teacher pay raise plan, investing $165 million for a 5% teacher raise in the 2019 school year. The plan also speeds up the restoration of recession-era cuts by providing an additional $136 million for District and Charter Additional Assistance, flexible dollars that can be used for new textbooks, updated technology, support staff salaries and more. In total, the budget provides $543 million NEW dollars for K-12 schools, with targeted funding to expand workforce programs at high schools and community colleges, add more schools counselors and cops on campus, grow the Arizona Teachers Academy, incentivize proven outcomes and more.

The plan prioritizes public safety.

Recognizing the value of Arizona’s men and women in law enforcement, the budget adds $71 million to provide pay raises for State Troopers, correctional officers, child safety caseworkers and additional public safety personnel. The budget also ensures Arizona’s highways are kept safe by adding 48 new State Troopers for three critical missions: Arizona’s Border Strike Force, the Wrong-Way Driver Night Watch, and patrol of the new Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway.

The budget invests in Arizona’s infrastructure of the future.

Arizona is growing, and our infrastructure needs to keep up. This year’s budget invests $283 million in Arizona’s infrastructure to promote public safety and support commerce, including $130 million to expand Interstate 17, $3 million to develop rural broadband, $95 million for targeted roadway and bridge construction projects across the state, and $700,000 to build a new cold room inspection facility at the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales.

The plan protects Arizona’s most vulnerable citizens.

Arizona’s budget invests in critical programs to help those in need, including $56 million to provide childcare subsidies for working, low-income families, $1.6 million to eliminate what’s known as the “Kidscare freeze” and protect access to health care for 6,000 kids, $10 million for programs to combat homelessness, and $2.4 million to expand the Department of Child Safety’s kinship care stipend, keeping more families together.

View full details of the budget HERE.

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