Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Special session of the lege to re-fix the FY09 budget

With approximately seven weeks left in the fiscal year, the Governor is calling the lege into a special session in order to deal what looks to be another shortfall for *this* year's budget, a shortfall that looks to be around $650 million.

On Wednesday morning, the House Appropriations Committee is meeting at 9 in HHR1 and Senate Appropriations will meet at 10 in SHR109 to consider two bills to fix the hole.

Most of the fix will come from university rollovers (rollover = moving a state payment to the universities to the next fiscal year) and K-12 rollovers and/or fund sweeps.

While the universities are basically on-board with the moves affecting them (they suggested something similar weeks ago), K-12 will get hosed -

The proposed rollover would affect the May 15th payment due to them, and most observers expect that the June payment will also be rolled over (if not tomorrow, then soon). That would mean that by the end of the fiscal year (June 30), K-12 districts, won't have received their budgeted state aid for 75 days. Even in good times, most government organizations don't have that kind of buffer built in to their financial structure. In bad times like these???

They're screwed.

Unless, of course, they had enough money saved up for capital improvements and repairs or other fund balances that the lege could sweep swipe. In which case, their state aid will continue, but they'll lose the money that had been previously committed to projects.

According to the Arizona Guardian, the amount of money they plan to sweep is approximately $300 million (subscription required).

And that will be a loss - they're never getting that money back, they just get to receive money already owed to them on schedule.

The timing of all of this is very interesting (if you'll pardon my cynicism for the moment) -

With all of the attention on President Obama's commencement address at ASU tomorrow, all of this will get lost in the news cycle. By the time Arizona's residents and the local media decompress and get back to paying attention to the shenanigans on West Washington, the damage will be done.

I'll try to cover some of this tomorrow night, but it's the start of my work week. Expect Tedski at R-Cubed and one of the writers at Blog for Arizona to cover this (they're U of A folks - even with Obama visiting, they won't acknowledge that ASU even exists. :) They'll have time for this story. )



Jen said...

i want to box someone out. this is bs! is this actionable? can a federal lawsuit be filed against the legislature? after all, our state constitution mandates for the funding and improvement of public education by way of taxation. this legislative majority has no "political will" to carry out and act upon that which they swore an oath to. i'm so fed UP with this crap. honestly! i would LOVE to see President Obama stand up at today's commencement and say, "Well, it looks like the class of '09 got out just in the nick of time. Those of you who will sit in these same seats next year, or at least those of you who'll be able to afford to and/or have teachers to get you hear, I say this, 'Good luck.' Your state has screwed you today."

cpmaz said...

I don't know if it's actionable, but I expect someone to find out. This is more than a money grab, it's a power grab, and entities like municipalities and school districts that have their own legal responsibilities to live up to have almost no choice here -

they *have* to defend their turf.

And the saddest and/or most infuriating part of all of this?

Even after they get the budgets for FY09 and FY10 worked out (as ugly as the final products will surely be), we get to go through all of this next year for FY11.


Jeremy said...

Did you see the House press release?