/ Modified may 4, 2016 8:21 a.m.

$9.58B State Budget Approved; More for K-12 But No KidsCare

Legislature works until nearly 2 am Wednesday, restoring some school funding.

This story will be updated throughout the day.

The Arizona Legislature completed work on the $9.58 billion state budget early Wednesday, adding some money for K-12 and higher education but turning away pleas to add health insurance for low-income children.

Passage of the budget in both legislative chambers came after more than a week of debate and negotiations over the K-12 funding, KidsCare and Gov. Doug Ducey's proposed Border Drug Strike Force.

In the end, schools got $31 million in restored cuts, the strike force got more than $20 million, and KidsCare was left out.

Democrats decried that last decision, saying it would leave 30,000 children without health insurance. Republican Senate President Andy Biggs, who blocked KidsCare, said although the program would cost the state nothing, taxpayers still would have to cover it through their federal taxes.

Moderate Republicans who insisted on restoring part of the K-12 cuts delayed final budget passage more than a week to get some of what they wanted.

Ducey issued a statement Wednesday morning praising the budget passage and lauding what he said was the state's first structurally balanced budget in a decade.

“This budget would have been unattainable just 15 short months ago, when the state was in a billion-dollar hole and government was living beyond its means," Ducey said in the statement. "Because of the decisions elected leaders made to set priorities, we are now in a position to make strategic investments in K-12 education, higher education, child safety and public safety."

Included in the budget:

  • $26 million in tax cuts, most for business, including allowing more equipment purchase writeoffs. Republicans said those cuts are passed along to consumers through lower prices.

  • $32 million in new funding for universities. More than half is one-time funding, which means it will not necessarily be back next year. Last year, the Legislature cut $99 million from the three state universities' funding.

  • $26 million for Ducey’s Border Strike Force.

  • $116 million for the Department of Child Safety over two years.

Ducey was scheduled to speak in Tucson Wednesday in what has been billed as a legislative wrapup speech.

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