Legislature wraps session, closes budget gap, continues ACA

The second regular session of the 56th Legislature ended on Saturday night, finally adjourning sine die.

Here’s a look at the session and the business community’s perspective on the last six months.

By the numbers: The legislative session ended after 160 days, two weeks ahead of the June 30 deadline to pass a state budget before the close of the 2024 state fiscal year.

The last major act of the session was the adoption of the $16.1 billion fiscal year 2025 state budget.

A total of 1,660 bills were introduced this year, 332 were passed by the Legislature, 59 were vetoed by the governor, and 202 were signed into law. Seventy-one are on the governor’s desk awaiting her signature or veto stamp. 

Bills signed into law will take effect on September 14.

Closing the gap: Lawmakers entered budget negotiations facing a shortfall in the current budget and the fiscal year 2025 budget year in the amount of $1.8 billion. They closed it with a combination of fund sweeps, including $333 million from the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority, nearly $730 million in cuts to the current budget, stopping previously appropriated projects, and deferring others.

Government agencies and state universities bore the brunt of the cuts.

Job creation win: The business community cheered the extension of the Arizona Commerce Authority for an additional five years with no cuts to the programs critical to business growth and economic development.

The continuation calls for the creation of an advisory committee to compile information relevant to city and county permitting times and other statistics important to economic development and competitiveness. 

“Arizona’s job creators thank the Legislature and Gov. Hobbs for working together to ensure the state’s leading economic development organization can continue its essential work without interruption,” said Courtney Coolidge, Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry vice president of government relations. “We look forward to Arizona maintaining its lofty position as a national leader in job creation thanks to the ACA’s talented team and our pro-business policy environment.”

Headed to the ballot: This November’s ballot will be a long one. The Legislature referred 11 questions to voters, and several campaigns are gathering signatures to place citizen initiatives on the ballot. Those signatures are due early next month.

Guest Contributor

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