Ducey draws line in sand on rainy-day fund

The governor said Monday he is sticking to his demand that the extra $155 million being taken from Arizona taxpayers go into the state’s “rainy day” fund.

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

Calling an economic downturn “inevitable,” Gov. Doug Ducey is pushing back against demands by lawmakers from his own Republican Party to use an unexpected cash windfall to pay down debt.

The governor said Monday he is sticking to his demand that the extra $155 million being taken from Arizona taxpayers go into the state’s “rainy day” fund. He wants to get that account, currently in the $460 million range, brought up to an even $1 billion.

The amount in that fund has been virtually unchanged since Ducey became governor. It also is far below the statutory cap on what is formally known on the “budget stabilization fund” of 7 percent of general fund revenues, a figure that this year would translate out to more than $700 million.

What irks some GOP lawmakers is the fact that the $155 million isn’t money the state earned, at least not through the normal political process of debating and setting tax rates. Nor is it some sort of unearned income in the form of a court judgment, like the cash Arizona got in the settlement of a lawsuit with Volkswagen over vehicles that were spewing more pollution than allowed.

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