Arizona Legislature approves budget-reduction bill

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by The Associated Press

azfamily.com

Posted on December 18, 2009 at 3:13 PM

Updated Saturday, Dec 19 at 6:36 PM

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Legislature has approved a bill to reduce the state's big budget shortfall.

The House on Saturday approved majority Republicans' bill on a partyline vote of 32-22The Senate approved it Thursday.

The bill would use spending cuts, raids on special funds and other changes to reduce the current budget's $1.6 billion shortfall by $193 million.

The cuts include lump sum midyear funding reductions of 7.5 percent for most agencies. Expected and predicted effects from those cuts and other provisions include state employee pay cuts, park closures and reductions in social programs.

Gov. Jan Brewer's spokesman says she likely will sign the bill after reviewing its provisions over the weekend.

Budget bill's impact on Arizona officials an issue

How a budget-balancing bill would affect certain elected officials is a point of contention among legislators.

The bill drafted by majority Republicans would reduce funding for Democratic Attorney General Terry Goddard's office by $8 million, with Democratic lawmakers and Goddard saying the reductions would hurt crime-fighting efforts.

And they note that the bill wouldn't cut funding for the smaller offices of two Republican elected officials, Treasurer Dean Martin and Secretary of State Ken Bennett.

Senate President Bob Burns said cutting Martin's office would axe in-house investment officers who would be replaced by higher-cost outsiders. The Peoria Republican also said all agencies and offices will face cuts when budget work continues in January.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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