She pushes expanded Medicaid, more education spending
Gov. Jan Brewer on Thursday took her lobbying campaign for her proposed state budget to the Arizona Board of Regents.
The governor addressed the board's meeting asking for – and getting – their formal declaration of support for her budget, specifically her plans to increase state funding for universities after several years of cuts, as well as expanded eligibility for the state's Medicaid program.
Brewer told the regents that Arizona needs to be competitive with other states when it comes to providing quality higher education. She added that their support of expanded Medicaid eligibility, which will result in the federal government picking up nearly all Medicaid funding, will free up dollars from the state's general fund for things like university funding, including medical-related programs like the University of Arizona medical school.
Brewer's budget faces not-so-subtle opposition from conservative legislators, who say despite increasing tax revenues as the economy slowly recovers, the slow pace of that recovery dictates that the state should hold the line on spending rather than increase spending to match revenues.
For example, lawmakers have suggested a 0% increase in university funding; Brewer wants to replace some of the state funding that was taken away during the recession.
The governor says she will continue making the rounds of important constituencies to lobby for her budget to show legislative leaders that there's widespread support for her proposals.