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New state budget restores some funding for rural counties

Arizona’s rural counties are pleased they will be getting a larger share of lottery revenues in the new state budget. Lawmakers stopped sharing the money with counties during the height of the recession. Maricopa and Pima counties will not see any lottery revenues under the state budget, but lawmakers are sending Arizona’s other 13 counties more than  $500,000 each. 

Jennifer Sweeney is with the Arizona Association of Counties. She said the revenue sharing program is only good for the next year, but it is some temporary relief to counties that have been struggling to pay the bills.

“We don’t want to be in a position where we have to take money from public safety for example at the county level to make up the difference from that money that used to flow from the lottery," Sweeney said.

Sweeney said the state is reducing another financial burden on counties. It will be picking up a larger share of payments to house sexually violent criminals at the state hospital, but she said lawmakers did not restore any highway funding for counties. That was cut a few years ago to send more money to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.