The 2020 state budget, annotated

Photo by Gage Skidmore | Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

After more than a week of debate, the legislature on Monday approved its $11.8 billion spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins on July 1.

Here are some top-line facts and figures for the budget, which is the largest in state history.

  • The budget for the current year, after some changes were made as part of the upcoming year’s budget, will total nearly $10.7 billion in spending
  • That represents a roughly 11.2% increase for the upcoming fiscal 2020 budget, though that figure is misleading because a large portion of that money is used to pay down debt or is saved for the future, not on state government programs
  • If that money, which totals more than $460 million, is excluded from the calculation, state spending increases by only about 6.9% in the upcoming year
  • Spending on K-12 education in the upcoming year will be $5.2 billion, about $500 million more than in the current year; that figure includes a 2% increase for inflation, the second phase of teacher pay raises and an expansion of a “results-based funding” system that rewards high-performing schools with more money
  • AHCCCS, the state’s Medicaid program, will receive nearly $1.8 billion from the general fund
  • The Arizona Department of Corrections will get more than $1.1 billion from the general fund, including a $31 million increase for inmate health care costs and another $1 million for employees to monitor the beleaguered inmate health care system
  • The Department of Economic Security will receive $750 million
  • Pay raises will be given to public safety workers, including those at the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Corrections; other state workers will not receive raises
  • Universities are receiving roughly $35 million in one-time funding

Arizona Mirror staff has also combed through the budget to find other interesting items that are noteworthy, both in terms of spending and the policy provisions that were passed along with the budget. We’ve annotated some of those items below.

K-12 education

Higher Education


Public Safety



Minimum wage





Jim Small
Jim Small is a native Arizonan and has covered state government, policy and politics since 2004, with a focus on investigative and in-depth policy reporting, first as a reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times, then as editor of the paper and its prestigious sister publications, the Yellow Sheet Report and Arizona Legislative Report. Under his guidance, the Capitol Times won numerous state, regional and national awards for its accountability journalism and probing investigations into state government operations.


  1. I too thank you. I don’t claim I’ve read it all, yet, but all Arizonans need to know how their money, money confiscated from the working and producing people of the state, is being spent … and so often wasted.
    Please keep up the good work.


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