By Andrew Nicla | Arizona Capitol Times
As some grocery store shelves lay as bare as Cactus League stadiums and restaurant dining rooms, lawmakers in the Arizona Legislature are scurrying to wrap up their business, begin their social isolation and hunker down for a storm. Their rainy day is here.
Gov. Doug Ducey pushed over two legislative sessions to fill a rainy-day fund against resistant Republicans who preferred to use an abundance of revenues to address the state’s debt, and Democrats who wanted to enhance government services.
The state tapped into the $1 billion savings account March 12 to wage the medical fight against COVID-19, a pandemic that is decimating economies worldwide, and while those resistant Republicans and Democrats are grateful for the extra cash, they stand by their arguments against the rainy-day fund.
When Ducey came into office, the state had about $455 million in the rainy-day fund, an amount that remained steady for the first few years of his governorship and one he worked to increase each year of his first term. In 2018, the same year the state got an unexpected $155 million windfall in state income tax revenue changes from federal tax law, Ducey demanded that money be saved, not spent, and that the fund be brought up to $1 billion.