Legislative Special Session Expected to End Today; $400 Million Down, $1.6 Billion to Go

Categories: Budget Blunders

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The legislature's third special session is set to come to a close today, after legislators have seemingly managed to cut about a quarter of the state's $2 billion budget gap.

The majority of the cuts fell in the lap of the K-12 education and social programs under the Department of Economic Security.

The cuts from those two areas are expected to trim about $300 million off the budget shortfall but other estimates put that number at more than $450 million.

Advocacy groups are urging legislators to slow down, and feel that Republicans are making unnecessary cuts, without considering other options.

"Since we know the impact of past cuts on programs, services to families and education, our message is very simple," Andrew Morrill, vice president of the Arizona Education Association tells the Arizona Guardian. "Exercise every option you have before you begin talking about cuts. And our point is that that has not yet been done."

What options are those? The state literally has no money.

Yesterday, Treasurer Dean Martin announced the state will be borrowing about $700 million just pay the bills.

"Literally, the state is out of money," Treasurer Dean Martin tells ABC 15. "This is not a Republican problem or a Democrat problem, it's a math problem."

Speaking of math, kudos to the legislature for cutting about $400 million -- now what's the plan for the other $1.6 billion?



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