Arizona rainy day fund surpasses $1 billion for first time

Very pleased to announce that our rainy day fund has passed $1 billion for the first time in history. We’ve been smart about our tax dollars while investing in the things that matter.

PHOENIX — Following a sizable investment at the beginning of the fiscal year, Arizona’s rainy day fund has surpassed $1 billion for the first time in state history.

The fund sits at $1.014 billion following a $542 million investment, according to a press release from Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s office.

Ducey told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Thursday an increase in the fund would protect the state against a potential economic downturn similar to the one in 2008-09.

Arizona’s rainy day fund, officially known as the Budget Stabilization Fund, stood at about $458 million last year.

“We were not prepared for an economic downturn, so we wanted to change that,” Ducey said. “It puts us in a good position to weather a storm.”

The rainy day fund increase was part of Arizona’s $11.8 billion state budget, which was approved in late May.

Arizona Sen. Kate Brophy McGee told KTAR News 92.3 FM the state’s revenues have been outpacing their predictions “quite consistently,” which has helped feed the fund.

One-time cash, or cash that isn’t guaranteed to be ongoing revenue, has also boosted the fund this year, Brophy McGee said.

The state has reserved more than half of the fund — $660 million — for K-12 public schools if it needs to dip into it.

Brophy McGee said public education was Ducey’s top rainy day fund priority.

Infrastructure and public safety were also allocated more than a combined $300 million of the fund.

“The rainy day fund would hold us over to make necessary budget adjustments so that schools and agencies wouldn’t be so badly impacted,” Brophy McGee said.