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Appropriations

Description: 

The primary focus of state government public finance is the general fund. Appropriations are approved by the Arizona Legislature before the beginning of each fiscal year, but adjustments to appropriations can be made during the year. Actual expenditures are essentially the same as the latest approved appropriations. The data are reported for fiscal years; for example, fiscal year 2013 runs from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013. An annual time series of expenditures are available back to fiscal year 1979 and include appropriations through the current fiscal year. Over the years, numerous changes have been made to the sources and uses of the general fund. For example, school construction was not part of the general fund prior to fiscal year 1999.

In order to compare expenditures over time, the effects of inflation, population growth, and per capita economic growth must be considered. Reporting expenditures per $1,000 of personal income automatically adjusts for all three factors. The fiscal year average (the average of the four quarters of the fiscal year) of personal income is used to standardize the public finance data.

Data Source: 

Expenditures are reported by the Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) http://www.azleg.state.az.us/jlbc.htm. The expenditure data are taken from the Appropriations Report; when released late in a fiscal year, the report includes revised appropriations for the current fiscal year and appropriations for the following fiscal year. The Appropriations Report is released several weeks after the budget has been passed by the Legislature and approved by the Governor.

Personal income is estimated quarterly by state by the U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis http://www.bea.gov/regional/index.htm. It is released about three months after the end of the quarter; revisions to estimates for prior quarters are made every quarter.

Data Quality Comments: 

Because of differences by state in accounting systems, the JLBC data are not comparable to those of any other state.

Some of the inputs to the calculation of personal income by state are estimated. Personal income estimates are subject to revision. Figures for the current fiscal year are projected. Personal income is a comprehensive measure of the economy but has conceptual limitations when employed to adjust public revenues and expenditures.

iconAppropriations Per $1,000 of Personal Income, Arizona State Government General Fund

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Visualization Notes:

General fund appropriations through the early 1990s averaged $48 per $1,000 of personal income (alternatively, were equal to approximately 4.8 percent of personal income), but have fallen considerably in Arizona since the early 1990s. The amount appropriated also has become cyclical, despite countercyclical increases in demand for health and social service programs. Despite the ongoing recovery from the recession that lasted from fiscal year (FY) 2008 into FY 2010, appropriations relative to the size of the economy continued to drop through FY 2014 and will barely increase in FY 2015. Compared to the latest cyclical peak in FY 2007, general fund appropriations per $1,000 of personal income in FY 2015 are down 19 percent overall, 24 percent for education, and 14 percent for other purposes. Between fiscal years 1985 and 2015 — similar years in the economic cycle — appropriations fell 26 percent relative to the size of the Arizona economy: appropriations for education fell 43 percent while appropriations for other purposes rose 3 percent.

iconAppropriations by Type Per $1,000 of Personal Income, Arizona State Government General Fund

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Visualization Notes:

Relative to the size of the Arizona economy, general fund appropriations for health and welfare climbed sharply from the early 1980s to the early 1990s, but have since dropped back. They have fluctuated since fiscal year (FY) 2005. Spending for public safety and corrections increased during the 1980s but has gone down a little since then per $1,000 of personal income. Appropriations for all other noneducation programs held steady relative to the size of the Arizona economy through the mid-1990s but have since dropped. Compared to the peak in FY 2007, general fund appropriations per $1,000 of personal income for these other programs have dropped the most, followed by education. Expenditures for health and welfare and for public safety have decreased by a lesser degree. Over the last 30 years, general fund appropriations relative to personal income rose for health and welfare, barely decreased for protection and safety, but dropped significantly for education and for most other programs.

iconAppropriations by Type as a Share of the Total, Arizona State Government General Fund

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Visualization Notes:

Between fiscal year (FY) 1979 (the earliest data) and FY 2015, the shares of the state government general fund expenditures have nearly doubled for health and welfare programs and for public safety and corrections. Though education still accounts for half of the Arizona general fund budget, this share had been 69 percent in FY 1979. The share for all other programs combined also has dropped.

Data Source

Expenditures are reported by the Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) http://www.azleg.state.az.us/jlbc.htm. The expenditure data are taken from the Appropriations Report; when released late in a fiscal year, the report includes revised appropriations for the current fiscal year and appropriations for the following fiscal year. The Appropriations Report is released several weeks after the budget has been passed by the Legislature and approved by the Governor.

Personal income is estimated quarterly by state by the U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis http://www.bea.gov/regional/index.htm. It is released about three months after the end of the quarter; revisions to estimates for prior quarters are made every quarter.