Jeff Rosenfield, KGUN9 | May 10, 2023 | original article
UPDATE Friday, 5/12
Now signed into law by Gov. Hobbs, the new budget will go into effect July 1, 2023.
—— After months of debate, Governor Katie Hobbs and Arizona lawmakers hammered out an agreement, passing Arizona's proposed $17.8 billion budget through both the house and senate.
Though the bill ultimately received bipartisan support, Democrats are upset the budget did not contain either caps or cuts to universal school vouchers.
But the budget does include an historic investment in housing, as well as increased spending in education, infrastructure and children's health insurance.
The State Senate adopted the budget after an all-night session on Tuesday, May 9 — the House following suit the next day.
Now the bill will be sent to the governor who says she will sign it.
“I’m glad the House passed the bipartisan budget and I look forward to signing it into law.
Not everybody got what they wanted, but I’m thankful legislative leaders were able to set aside their differences, compromise, and support a bipartisan deal that makes historic investments in affordable housing, builds roads, bridges, and public transit, expands access to health insurance for Arizona’s children and creates critical new ESA accountability measures.
By working together in a constructive way, I know we can accomplish so much for the people of Arizona and grow jobs, protect our natural resources, and build a state that works for every community.”
Gov. Katie Hobbs
Bill Spending Breakdown
Source: Gov. Katie Hobbs
$150 million investment in the Housing Trust Fund
Over $650m in funds investing in roads, bridges, broadband infrastructure, and public transit throughout the state
An increase in KidsCare eligibility to expand access to health insurance for approximately 9,500 children in FY24, and over 12,000 in FY25
A $300 million one-time infusion in K-12 spending, along with $341.9m for school facilities
$88.6m new, ongoing K-12 funding
$126.1m in Tribal Investments
$60m in the Homeless Shelter and Services Fund (New Fund)
New ESA Reporting Metrics
FY24 Aggregate Expenditure Limit (AEL) override for schools
Aggregate Expenditure Limit Override
The new budget has already approved the AEL override. That's a move that the Arizona Education Association applauded, adding it will avoid "a completely unnecessary political fight over whether school districts can spend the money they’ve already been appropriated."
Read the Arizona Education Association's full statement below:
Arizona Education Association President Marisol Garcia released the following statement in response to the passage of the 2023 budget:
“There’s a lot to like in this budget–and one major disappointment. We’re glad to see the repeal of inequitable results-based funding, an increase to the base school funding level, and a one-time infusion of $300 million into K-12 public schools. These investments will translate into higher educator pay, better benefits, smaller class sizes, and other improvements, helping us keep highly qualified educators in Arizona’s schools. We’re also happy to see a long-delayed and much-needed $340 million investment in school facilities. Finally, it’s great that the legislature has preemptively waived the school funding cap (also known as the Aggregate Expenditure Limit or AEL) for next year, avoiding a completely unnecessary political fight over whether school districts can spend the money they’ve already been appropriated.
At the same time, it’s extremely frustrating that this budget does not address the growth of the state’s out-of-control voucher program. The extremist majority in our state legislature has ignored the will of Arizona voters and pushed through policies that bankroll private schools for the wealthy at the cost of the public schools attended by 90% of Arizona kids. Vouchers will cost the state more than $600 million this year alone. This unchecked spending is completely irresponsible and is on track to bankrupt our state. The fight to repeal vouchers during next year’s legislative session starts today.”
Arizona Education Association