by Jim Nintzel
As Republicans at the Arizona Legislature struggle to pass a budget, the financial news just gets worse.
Arizona finished the fiscal year on June 30 with an estimated shortfall of nearly $474 million, even after all the cuts that lawmakers made back in January, according to the latest report from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. That’s partially because Gov. Jan Brewer wasn’t able to use $250 million in federal stimulus funds on education programs as she thought she could, but that money can probably be sloshed around in the current year’s budget, provided lawmakers ever get around to approving one.
The $8.24 billion that the state collected during the fiscal year is the lowest take since fiscal year 2005. After that number is adjusted for various accounting concerns, the number drops to $7.69 billion, which is more than 18 percent lower than the previous fiscal year. The state hasn’t seen a drop that steep since World War II.
More bad news: The state still hasn’t hit bottom. June’s overall tax collections were $137.5 million below June 2008.
June’s sales tax collections dropped 14.4 percent compared to June 2008, making it the 17th consecutive month that revenues have fallen compared to the same month the previous year. Those declines have been in the double digits for the last eight months.
Here's the whole depressing report: FiscalReport.pdf