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Legislature considers a new infusion of money into the IRC

Redistricting Commission seeks cash for defense

Arizona lawmakers are introducing another supplemental appropriation for the Independent Redistricting Commission, providing an infusion of new funding to the maligned agency as it tries to pay its bills for the remainder of the fiscal year.

The Senate Rules Committee, chaired by Senate President Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, voted today to allow the late introduction of a bill to provide $635,226 to the commission, according to a Republican Senate staffer.

The amount equals the minimum requested by IRC officials, who asked the Legislature for as much as $719,425 in new funding for fiscal year 2013, said Kristina Gomez, IRC deputy executive director.

“We’re happy that they’ve been so responsive, and they’ve always met their constitutional responsibility providing funding,” Gomez said.

More importantly, the bill would allow the commission to use future funding from its fiscal year 2014 budget appropriation to cover debt incurred in the current fiscal year, according to the staffer. The commission was granted permission to use the same budgetary tactic last year, when it ran out of funding to cover fiscal year 2012 expenses.

IRC officials have requested $2.23 million in funding for fiscal year 2014, Gomez said. Gov. Jan Brewer has recommended providing the commission $1.4 million.

“We did run out of supplemental last fiscal year, so it helped when we were able to use some of our funds to pay of fy2012 expenses,” Gomez said. “Then you’re just taking away money from the following fiscal year that you have to come up with again, you have to go back because you’re short.”

The supplemental funding won’t cover remapping costs in the event a federal court rules that the commission’s legislative map must be redrawn, Gomez said.

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