The $8.8 billion budget passed by the Arizona Legislature Thursday is little changed from what the state Senate approved one month ago.
Because the 10-bill spending package was approved in special session, as called by Gov. Jan Brewer this week, the Senate's vote on the budget last month was nullified. The Senate Thursday followed the House in approving the budget in 10 votes of 18-11. The House votes on the same bills were 33-27.
Including federal Medicaid expansion, which saves money in the state general fund, the new budget is projected to start bringing the state into structural balance by the 2015-16 fiscal year, according to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. The JLBC does budget analysis for the Legislature independent of either political party.
A rundown of the budget package released Thursday by the JLBC, showed a $1 million structural balance in two years.
Currently, the state is running at a structural deficit, meaning that it is taking in less money than it is budgeting to spend. But with the Medicaid funding coming from an assessment on hospitals rather than from the general fund, the deficit ebbs over two years as the Medicaid program ramps up.
A deficit of $446 million in 2013-14 will go to $208 million in 2014-15. The following year, 2015-16, it will be in balance, $1 million over spending, according to the JLBC analysis.
Key components of the 2013-14 state budget include:
Total spending of $8.808 billion, which is $289.9 billion, or 3.4 percent, higher than this fiscal year's budget. Included is a projected $697 million rollover of money not expected to be spent this fiscal year.
$57.4 million more in spending for the Department of Economic Security, which is on top of an emergency $5 million appropriation for caseworkers that passed in January. Child Protective Services group homes and staffing will get $25.9 million in the new budget, and $26.7 million will go to other child services, including foster care and stipends to grandparents.
$99.1 million more for K-12 education. Included is $82 million in base level increased funding, or an estimated $58.82 per student in the state and $21.4 million to start Gov. Jan Brewer's performance-based funding plan. Adult education will get a $4.5 million increase, and $1.2 million will be added for school safety officers.
Higher education will receive an added $30.8 million, half to give Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University the same per-student funding as the University of Arizona. The UA medical school in Phoenix will get $8 million more, $5 million more will go to universities performance-based funding, and rural community colleges will get $2 million more in capital spending.