Tuesday, May 05, 2009

House Appropriations Budget Hearing - Tuesday, 10 a.m.

On Tuesday morning (or *this* morning as you read this) the House Appropriations Committee will meet to consider the Republican budget proposal (10 a.m., HHR1).

It's pretty short notice, so I won't be able to do an in-depth look at all of the Budget Reconciliation Bills (BRBs) associated with the budget, but here are a few of the lowlights -

HB2635 - BRB Revenues

- Repeals the State Equalization Property Tax (they've been trying to do this for years, so...of course)

- Takes $210 million in development fees from cities and towns on one hand, and bars those same cities and towns from raising development fees to recover the revenue lost.

- Redirects lottery revenue from the Court Appointed Special Advocate fund to the state's General Fund. (In the General Appropriations bill, the Reps propose to appropriate $2.2 million for CASA, but to then transfer more than $3.4 million in CASA funds to the General Fund.)

HB2634 - Capital Outlay

- I don't know enough in this area to comment, but it's worth linking to for those who are interested in looking into it.

HB2636 - BRB General Government

- Allows county governments to implement reductions in work hours and furloughs for civil service employees and makes such unappealable.

- Eliminates the 21st Century Fund appropriation.

HB2637 - BRB State Properties

- Mandates that the state sell the State Agricultural Laboratory property at 2422 W. Holly in Phoenix

HB2638 - BRB Criminal Justice

- Raises all kinds of fees for those on parole, probation, or intensive probation

- Requires that $2 million in Court Diversion fee monies be transferred to the General Fund; CD fee monies in excess of $2 million will be transferred to the Crime Laboratory Operations Fund. If there are less than $2 million in CD fee monies, the difference must come from Crime Lab Operations Fund

HB2639 - BRB K-12 Education

- There's all kinds of technical stuff with funding formulas and percentages here; I'll leave coverage of that to David Safier at Blog for Arizona. He's the resident expert on legislative issues relating to education in the AZ blogosphere.

- Phases out the Career Ladder Program and Teacher Performance Pay

- Closes new enrollments to the Early Graduation Scholarship Program. Existing students get to remain if money is available

- Bars the funding of new school construction

HB2640 - BRB Higher Education

- Suspends the requirement for FY 2009-10 for the Legislature to appropriate $2 for every $1 raised by student fees deposited into the Arizona Financial Aid Trust

HB2641 - BRB Health and Welfare

- Wreaks all kinds of nastiness upon AHCCCS including the elimination of KidsCare Parents. This one will probably warrant its own post

- Takes Lottery Funds earmarked to go to DES for homeless services and diverts them to the General Fund

- Allows any person to sue, on behalf of the state, another person for making false claims for medical services, and sets forth how the persons bringing such lawsuits can profit from same

HB2642 - BRB Environment

- Repeals the Arizona Agricultural Protections Act (here and here)

- Takes more than $7 million from the State Land Department

Interesting stuff from HB2633, the General Appropriations Bill -

- Suspend GF support for the Arizona Commission on the Arts

- Restore FY09 reductions for the State Board for Charter Schools

- No Early Kindergarten

- Eliminate Alzheimer's research funding

- Cut (or eliminate, that's unclear here) the Nuclear Emergency Management Fund (Hey - eliminating the Health Crisis Fund in FY2009 has worked out so well in the face of the swine flu pandemic, we should expand the scheme, right?)

- Cut all sorts of funds from the Attorney General's office. The office that is run by the Democratic AG and presumptive Democratic nominee for governor next year

- Implement minimal or no cuts to the offices of the Governor, Treasurer, Secretary of State, or Mine Inspector - Republicans one and all. I'm not sure what, if any, cuts have been proposed for the State Superintendent of Public Education - there are all kinds of cuts to the Department of Education, but I'm not sure if any apply to Tom Horne's office itself

- Implements a fund swipe of $7 million from the Early Childhood Development & Health Fund (subject to ongoing litigation - this one may be subject to Voter Protection Act restrictions)

A press release on the topic from the House Democrats is here; the JLBC summary of the bills (BRBs and Gen Approps) is here.

It should be a looonnnng meeting on Tuesday...

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