Conservative Republican budgeting leads to better numbers than projected
The non-partisan Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) today revealed updated numbers on the State of Arizona's budget. The Finance Advisory Committee (FAC) met for the first time since June, and the updated numbers show Arizona is in a strong position to recover from the COVID-related downturn because of Republican leadership on the budget.
At that June meeting, analysts projected the COVID-19 recession would result in a $190 million shortfall for Fiscal Year 2020. Today's update reveals a complete turnaround, with FY 2020 ending with a positive $372 million balance.
The report also shows greatly improved numbers for Fiscal Year 2021. The new October forecast estimates an ending balance in FY 2021 of $411 million and an FY 2022 ending balance of $93 million.
"This is outstanding news for everyone in our state," said Senate President Karen Fann. "We've been through a lot during this pandemic, with small businesses closed and many people out of work. Those first projections in late spring were chilling, but these latest numbers show we have weathered much of the storm and are in a strong position to bounce back."
"In March, Republican leadership in the Legislature put together a 'skinny budget' for our state, because we knew we had to be prepared for a COVID downturn. It was intentionally cautious, providing for our big priorities but with no wasteful spending. Today's report is one more indication that was the right call," said President Fann.
Fiscal responsibility by Republicans goes beyond today's improved numbers. Arizona continues to maintain a billion dollar Rainy Day Fund, and growth in spending in the state is far below average growth of population plus inflation.