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Wishful thinking interrupted by budget reality (access required)

JLBC has singled out three budget provisions that wouldn't live up to their billing: a plan to save $50 million due to reduced fraud in the health care system; deals to privatize nine of the 10 state prisons; and a plan to raise $735 million by selling dozens of state buildings, then leasing them back. But there's more.

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Lottery renewal needed before state can borrow (access required)

The odds of winning the Arizona Lottery's big jackpot are about one in 175 million. The odds that lawmakers will sell off future lottery revenues for a quick cash infusion are exponentially better. As lawmakers ponder how to fix a fiscal 2011 budget deficit that is expected to top $2 billion, many are viewing lottery securitization as a last resort whose time has come.

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No moratorium, Senate to hear bills early in session (access required)

The Senate is going to hear bills when session starts, Senate President Bob Burns said Oct. 29. This is a departure from the strategy the Senate leadership adopted during the most recent regular session, when a moratorium on hearing non-budget bills was used so lawmakers could direct all their energy to solving the state's record-breaking budget deficit.

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Arizona leaders to tackle budget at 95th Town Hall at Grand Canyon

More than 100 Arizona leaders will meet in Grand Canyon Village on Nov. 1-4, as part of the 95th Arizona Town Hall meeting, focusing on the fiscal problems of the state. The meeting, entitled "Riding the Fiscal Roller Coaster: Government Revenue in Arizona," is hosted by the Arizona Town Hall nonprofit organization, which organizes the event biannually.

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Budget gap grows as result of ‘unrealized savings’ (access required)

Legislative budget analysts said last week that $165 million of the state budget deficit is due to "potential unrealized budget savings" that were assumed as part of the spending plan, which was designed to bridge a $3 billion shortfall. In short, several savings measures won't work as planned.

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Gambling pitched as Arizona’s budget salvation (access required)

The struggling Arizona racing industry is hoping it can sell lawmakers on a proposal to help racetracks stay open and give the state hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue. But the idea faces resistance on several fronts, as it would expand gambling by allowing "racinos" and by lifting limits on tribal casinos.

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Budget deficit now estimated at $2 billion

Legislative budget analysts said tax collections in the first quarter of the fiscal year have been so sluggish that they have revised revenue projections downward. Now, the deficit for fiscal 2010 is $2 billion. In order for the state to collect the $7.1 billion it anticipated this year, revenues would have to grow by nearly 1 percent from the prior year. However, collections are down 16 percent after the first three months.

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