Counties to state: Pay us back now

Funding sweeps depleted coffers amid recession

By Rebekah L. Sanders | The Republic

County officials across the state are waiting anxiously for the Arizona Legislature to deliver its 2018 budget to Gov. Doug Ducey, warning that they could be on the brink of financial disaster if the state doesn’t throw them a bone. Counties have shouldered more than $500 million in funding sweeps and cost shifts by state lawmakers since the Great Recession blew a hole in state finances, according to the County Supervisors Association of Arizona, a research and advocacy group representing the state’s 61 county supervisors. Continued financial pressure from the state after a decade means counties are watching roads crumble, reducing law-enforcement patrols, patching together decades- old equipment, closing facilities and considering the unthinkable in conservative Arizona: raising taxes. “Year after year after year, (state officials) put their hands in the county’s pockets to balance the state budget,” said

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