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Policy in the budget — by the bills (access required)

As amended, the bill allows AHCCCS to adopt rules necessary to implement a program given available funds, providing the agency the ability to make changes to its services, eligibility and rates. Also, the bill contains an intent clause for certain transplant services that were eliminated last year to be funded, and a “notwithstanding” language that the Governor’s Office says gives the agency broad leeway to restore the services.

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A balanced budget… for now: Threat of lawsuits could undo spending cuts (access required)

Fiscally conservative Republicans won the argument when the governor agreed to forego borrowing and other budget gimmicks to help shore up the state’s sagging revenues, and the budget-slashing proposal was also a vindication for legislators who saw themselves as lone voices in the wilderness, warning for many years that politicians’ appetite for spending would one day come back to haunt them.

But a bigger, perhaps more critical fight looms.

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K-12 schools bracing for cuts (access required)

The cuts public schools will face next year are smaller than Senate Republicans initially proposed, but probably aren’t small enough to prevent teacher layoffs and school closings, according to some school officials.

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Brewer signs budget

Calling it a milestone on Arizona’s road to recovery, Gov. Jan Brewer signed a fiscal year 2012 budget that she said made painful – but necessary – cuts that would protect the state’s fiscal health for years to come.

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