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Arizona Agenda presents: Building the Budget

Source: The Arizona Agenda The Arizona Agenda has published an excellent guide to how the annual budget gets built.

Gov. Katie Hobbs will unveil her executive budget proposal today, triggering the starter’s gun in the annual budget battles. 

While legislators file somewhere around 1,500 bills a year, their most important duty is to pass a balanced state budget. It’s really the main event of what lawmakers do in a given year. But unlike passing bills, the process of crafting a budget mostly happens behind the scenes. 

This year, lawmakers have to fill an estimated $420 million hole in the current budget that ends on June 30. That means they’re cutting the bipartisan budget they wrote last year.

They’re also facing a projected $450 million deficit for the next fiscal year budget. That’s state spending starting July 1 — the budget they’re supposed to be fighting over this year.1

In essence, the state is now expected to spend or not receive almost $1 billion more than the last time policymakers hashed out the spending plan. They’ve got to make that up by cutting spending or finding more money. 

That’ll take a lot of negotiating and compromise among divided branches of government.

In other words, don’t expect them to pass a budget anytime soon.  

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