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ARIZONA

Arizona

State Recovery Act Website: http://az.gov/recovery/

Arizona's state Recovery Act website scored 15 out of 100 possible points (ranking a tied 34th) on Good Jobs First's 51-state study of state stimulus websites entitled Show Us the Stimulus. The state earned a lower than average score by neglecting to disclose any kind of geographic distribution of Recovery Act funds, how those funds were distributed with regard to economic distress indicators, or report any job creation data. Specific program allocations are displayed here.  Contractor information: none.

Arizona scored more points-30 out of 100 (ranking a tied 35th)-on its disclosure of information specifically about highway projects funded by the Recovery Act.  The state's transportation data score was boosted by its geographic breakdown of where highway spending is occurring in the state. Contractor information: none.

For detailed scoring information, see the Arizona appendix of Show Us the Stimulus.

Coordination & Oversight

The state legislature appears to be responsible for much of the decision-making processes surrounding the stimulus package. According to an Arizona Senate press release, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee will provide a preliminary review to House and Senate Appropriations committees before Senate standing committees each evaluate parts of the package.

The Arizona Office of Economic Recovery is run out of the state Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting, and it will be headed by Jim Apperson. According to the Government Accountability Office, this office was created specifically for stimulus funds coordination and accountability. The same GAO document reports that "a senior official in the state comptroller's office said that office plans to conduct a survey to inventory current internal controls at state agencies to help ensure controls are in place to limit the risk of fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement of Recovery Act funds."

A July GAO report states that Arizona has enhanced its accounting system to track Recovery Act funds by adding new accounting codes in order to segregate and track these funds separately from other funds that will flow through the state government. Arizona’s General Accounting Office has issued guidance to state agencies on their responsibilities, including how they are to receive, disburse, tag or code funds in their accounting systems; track funds separately; and, to some extent, report on these federal resources. State department heads and program officials generally expect that they will also require subrecipients, through agreements, grant applications, and revised contract provisions, to track and report Recovery Act funding separately. The state comptroller and the state chief information officer are devising a methodology to integrate information gathered across the state agencies with the data in the state’s accounting system, the Arizona Financial Information System, into an overall database or data warehouse for reporting on the use of Recovery Act funds for the entire state. Although the state has not completed a separate risk assessment for these funds, the state is in the process of administering a survey asking state agencies for a self-assessment of their internal controls that includes a risk assessment, to help safeguard Recovery Act resources.

Policy Debates

The Senate passed SB1102 and the House passed counterpart bill HB2631 to reverse a previously passed law that required the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) to reevaluate Medicaid benefits for certain citizens every six months. That change in policy violated an ARRA mandate that states maintain previous levels of service and would have made the state ineligible for a large portion of stimulus funding. The state also had to reverse cuts in education spending.

Arizona legislative bodies handily passed program reform bills for both unemployment insurance funds and Medicaid funds provided by the ARRA on April 23.

The GAO is cautioning that Arizona will have to speed up its financial-reporting practices to meet the requirements to track stimulus spending. The GAO pointed to recent delays in the state's examinations of its own finances as a potential problem toward complying with the federal law. The same report states that some previous federal awards were not reviewed at the subrecipient level to ensure that the awards were used for authorized purposes.

Last updated on: 7 October, 2009

Quick Facts

Population:
6,500,180

Median Household Income:
$49,889

Unemployment Rate:
9.1%

Poverty Rate:
14.2%

Estimated Recovery Act Funding:
$4.5 billion

Resources

Arizona PIRG has released one report critical of ADOT's decisions direct so much stimulus funding toward highway construction: Economic Stimulus or More Misguided Spending? January 7, 2009; online here.

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