HEADLINES : Arizona
Reaction to Budget Passage Mixed
The budget passed on the strength of large Republican majorities in both houses after nearly four months of negotiations with GOP Gov. Jan Brewer. Democrats were critical, saying the budget unnecessarily saves a big state surplus at the expense of education and other needs.
"We're going to not allow people to get the educational opportunities they need," Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix said. " ... That is not good planning. That's the biggest problem with this budget, lack of planning."
The chairman of the Arizona Board of Regents had a quite different reaction, praising the Legislature for what he called its steps "to reinvest in higher education."
"For the first time in five fiscal years, the Arizona University System will receive new state general fund dollars in support of critical educational programs," Regents chair Rick Myers said in a statement. "Gov. Brewer has been a persistent advocate for higher education throughout the fiscal year 2013 budget negotiations, and the Arizona Board of Regents thanks her for her leadership and support."
The budget includes $15 million to equalize funding among the three universities; the University of Arizona has traditionally received more per student than Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University. The UA College of Medicine in Phoenix gets $6 million in the new budget.
Those dollar amounts notwithstanding, Brewer didn't get anywhere near what she sought for increased educational spending. Her compromise with the Legislature put an estimated $76 million more into funding for schools at all levels, compared with the more than $270 million she sought.