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Gov. Ducey signs budget for upcoming fiscal year

Gov. Doug Ducey signed a $15.6 billion Tuesday. However, the actual budget is closer to $18 billion as it includes spending that is outside the general fund. 

That extra spending includes highway, border, water and rainy day funds. It comes as the state has to justify to the federal government that it properly spent COVID-relief money. 

By taking money from the American Rescue Pan Act, that state was required to maintain a specific amount of money  — 54% of the general fund — on education. 

"You have this strange situation that the federal requirements as they were could have potentially made us spend way too much in ongoing commitments than we could reasonably expect," House Majority Leader Ben Toma said.

However, by keeping that extra money outside of the general fund, it means that the state was only required to base education spending on the $15 billion that’s on paper, not the total $18 billion. 

"This is your typical gimmick and sleight of hand. And any, any way conceivable to avoid putting extra money into K-12, they will find a way to do it. So it is pretty sneaky," Senate Minority Leader Rebecca Rio said. 

The budget was passed with support from both parties. 

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Greg Hahne started as a news intern at KJZZ in 2020 and returned as a field correspondent in 2021. He learned his love for radio by joining Arizona State University's Blaze Radio, where he worked on the production team.