Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Legislative staffers warn that budget gap bulging

PHOENIX – Preliminary April tax figures indicate the state’s revenue shortfall for the fiscal year will be significantly bigger than anticipated, according to a new report that cited the worsening economy.

Legislative budget analysts said a new budget shortfall that was most recently estimated at $487 million could grow by between $200 million and $300 million by the fiscal year’s June 30 end.

Though Gov. Jan Brewer and lawmakers can use even more federal stimulus money than already planned to keep the budget in the black, that would mean those dollars aren’t available to help balance the next two budgets. Each now includes deep pools of red ink.

Legislators in January approved spending cuts, raids on special-purpose funds and use of stimulus money to close a projected $1.6 billion shortfall in the current budget. And lawmakers have planned to spend an additional nearly $500 million of stimulus money to cover the current year’s new gap.

Legislators have been struggling for months to craft a new budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1, and the grimmer revenue picture will make that work harder.

The preliminary April results include 30 percent more in tax refunds issued in April from a year earlier and 30 percent less in payments received, the budget staff said.

A state appellate court on Thursday lifted a lower court’s order blocking the state from implementing budget cuts in services for thousands of developmentally disabled people. A three-judge Court of Appeals panel unanimously vacated a preliminary injunction issued in March by Judge Joseph B. Heilman of Maricopa County Superior Court.

Advocates for the developmentally disabled filed their suit Feb. 27, challenging the main law in a January budget-balancing package that closed a $1.6 billion budget shortfall.

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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