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Budget lessons from Arizona

Date Published: 06/01/2011

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One great thing about having 50 different states trying to balance budgets is that Minnesota can learn from the mistakes of others. Arizona, for instance.

A year ago, 64% of Arizona voters approved Proposition 100, a three-year, one-percent sales tax increase to fund education, which was to receive two-thirds of the proceeds; health care and public safety would split the other third.

The tax produced less revenue than expected, but that wasn't the biggest snag.

Although the money is directed into specific spending areas, there was nothing in the law to prevent lawmakers from cutting other funds that pay for education, health care and public safety.

And that's what they did as they approved a fiscal 2012 budget.

Gov. Jan Brewer promised early in the session she would "protect" total education funding at the State

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