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It's finally over!

The state budget for 2025 was passed after a twelve hour voting session on Saturday June 15th.

The $1.3 billion deficit combining the remainder of 2024 and the 2025 projections needed to be addressed with drastic cuts leaving a $16.1 billion budget.  No one was happy with the budget as passed.

Budget Pros, Cons and Meh

Attorney General Kris Mayes filed a lawsuit against Governor Hobbs and the state legislature for sweeping more than $120 M of the Opioid Settlement fund and giving it to the Dept of Corrections. Additional fund sweeps of $40 M each are planned for the next 2 years.

Pharmaceutical companies were sued over misrepresenting the dangers and addictiveness of opioids. The settlement gives Arizona $1.8 B over 18 years.  The attorney general contends the sweeping of funds to be illegal and puts additional funds in jeopardy. The governor believes the budget balancing maneuver to be legal.

No real solutions to the states water problems were brought forth this session. There could be a special session called.

Another missing piece of the Arizona puzzle was the extension of Prop. 123. It was believed the GOP might use Prop 123 and a loss of $300 M to public schools as a bargaining tool in the budget process. That did not happen. A special session could be called to extend the yearly distributions from the State Land Trust. The money is set to expire in 2025. The legislature could have easily sent a ballot referral to take care of the issue. There was disagreement between the GOP majority and the governor on who should get the funding; just classroom teachers or all school employees.

For a more comprehensive legislative year end and budget recap please read this week's Substack from Civic Engagement Beyond Voting, The CEBV Weekly.

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