State Budget Deal Includes Relief for Counties
Maricopa County Supervisors expressed gratitude to the Governor and Arizona lawmakers for a budget that frees counties of many of the financial burdens passed onto them since the Great Recession. Since 2008, mandated cost shifts or direct contributions to the State of Arizona have cost Maricopa County more than $300 million. The state budget deal eliminates or phases out most of those cost shifts.
“The tide has turned,” said Chairman Steve Chucri, District 2, “I applaud Governor Ducey, Speaker Mesnard, Senate President Yarborough, and everyone who agreed with our position that, to build a better Arizona, counties must be fully-supported.”
During the recession, counties helped the State by absorbing losses of revenue once allocated to counties (highway, lottery funds) and paying for certain services controlled by the state (Juvenile Corrections, Department of Revenue). Yearly costs to Maricopa County were as high as $30 million. With the new budget, mandated cost shifts or direct contributions to the State will drop to approximately $4 million by FY 2021.
“At the end of the day, the state should be paying their bills and we should be paying ours,” said Vice Chairman Bill Gates, District 3. “I want to thank state lawmakers for doing what is right for counties and their constituents at a time when it might have been easy to just maintain the status quo.”
One major cost to Maricopa County has been paying 100% of the salaries of Superior Court judges. Every other Arizona county splits the cost of those salaries 50-50 with the State. Maricopa County’s burden will drop to 75-25 in FY 2020 will match other counties’ 50-50 split in FY 2021.
“All we’ve asked is to be treated the same as everyone else,” said Supervisor Clint Hickman, District 4. “I’m especially grateful to Senator Rick Gray, who helped convince his colleagues that singling out Maricopa County to pay more just because of our size isn’t fair.”
“Passing on costs to counties was never a sustainable, long-term budget solution,” said Supervisor Denny Barney, District 1. “I’m grateful to the Governor and the leadership in the House and Senate for eliminating most of these temporary county cost shifts. All of us on the Board are hopeful this trend will continue.”