/ Modified may 2, 2012 8:47 a.m.

AZ Legislature OKs $8.6B Budget

Brewer (left) gets some of what she wants; rainy day fund gets $450M

By The Associated Press and Arizona Public Media

The Arizona Legislature Tuesday approved a Republican budget plan that mixes increased spending with at least a temporary partial replenishing of the state's reserve fund.

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The budget of $8.6 billion passed the House and Senate late Tuesday in a package of 10 legislative bills negotiated by Gov. Jan Brewer and top legislative leaders.

The votes mostly tracked party lines.

The plan includes stashing $450 million in the state's reserve fund and increasing spending for mental health care, prison construction, reading instruction and other programs.

The budget was hung up in negotiations for weeks, with Brewer saying the state could afford some immediate spending increases, while many Republican legislators argued for holding the line on spending in anticipation of future budget troubles.

Democrats say the Republicans' budget doesn't do enough to add jobs and address important priorities.

Brewer conceded a GOP legislative insistence on adding to the reserve fund, while gaining more than $120 million in education funding and another nearly $100 million for child and senior care, programs for the seriously mentally ill and new maximum security prison beds.

Passage of the budget clears the way for adjournment of the regular session. Legislators have sent a big stack of bills to the governor for her approval, and they continue to work on last-minute legislation.

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