How will Arizona use $4-Billion from Federal stimulus plan?

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Governor has most say
azfamily.com

Going over the billions of dollars at stake, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee gave a breakdown of the stimulus bill to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.

The governor will ultimately be in charge of allocating the money. However, legislators will have the power to shuffle things around in the budget in hopes of combating the massive deficit.

And there are two main programs that could help reduce the budget shortfall.

First - the federal government will be increasing the amount it pays in Medicaid. That will likely generate more than $1.5-billion dollars in the next three years.

The state will also get about $1-billion dollars to spend on education.

So legislators could reduce some of their funding there and use the stimulus money to fill in the gap.

"We can use this money to fill the hole left in the 2009 budget fix and there is money over and above that that we can use to help children learn to read and special education kids," says Kyrsten Sinema (D) House Represenative of Dist. 15

There are areas such as child care where the state could get $50-million dollars, but would likely have to increase funding to meet requirements.

But Republicans warn that this money is only temporary, its not a permanent fix and will run out in about two years.

Pamela Gorman (R) Senate District 6 says "so its a big gamble if you expand some programs and hire a bunch of people. Expecting the economy to cover those costs when the money runs out."