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Budget Picture Not Clear Ahead In Arizona


This story is part of an NPR nationwide analysisof states' revenue and budgets during the pandemic.

When tax revenues for April were released in June, the picture was not as dire as analysts originally predicted in Arizona. The state was facing a budget shortfall of $700 million at most. And, because of that, state lawmakers have no plans to return for a special session on the budget.

The picture ahead is not as clear. In June, coronavirus cases began surging in Arizona, and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey once again closed bars, movie theaters and gyms.

For the budget shortfall, the state will rely on more than $100 million in federal CARES Act funding and its rainy day fund balance, which amounts to about $1 billion. Republican Rep. Regina Cobb, the chair of the Arizona House Appropriations Committee, says the larger concern is for the next fiscal year if the pandemic continues.

Another possible pitfall for the budget is the state's Medicaid system. Unemployment numbers continue to climb week after week, which has caused a spike in the number of people enrolling in Medicaid, but those costs have not been realized yet, in part because people are not visiting the doctor as much during the outbreak.

Christopher Conover is a host, reporter and producer at Arizona Public Media.

Copyright 2020 Arizona Public Media

Christopher Conover