The Govenor and the State Legislature allocate resources based on estimated
revenue collection levels through the budgeting process. The following
documents summarize Arizona's budget process.
While the budget process has constantly evolved since statehood,
there have been a number of changes to Arizona budget process since 1993
which have addressed the following components:
The end of this page includes links
to budget process legislation since 1993 along with JLBC Staff summaries of some
- Statutorily, the budget has a bifurcated cycle. For 15
large state agencies ("annual
budget units"), the Legislature adopts a one-year budget every year. For
the rest of the state agencies ("biennial budget units"), the
Legislature adopts 2-year budgets, with each year separately delineated. These
budgets are adopted in the first year of each 2-year biennium of the
- Although the budgeting cycle is bifurcated -- large state agencies are on an
annual budget cycle while most state agencies are on a biennial (once every
two years) budget cycle -- that cycle has been suspended in recent years. All agencies received separate annual budgets
from FY 2010 through FY 2017.
- For a historical list of changes in the biennial budgeting cycle, see
and Master List of Programs
- Agencies are required to submit operating plans for their agency to OSPB and
JLBC Staff by September 1 of each year. A.R.S. § 35-122 states that the
agency operating plans shall contain a mission statement, description, and
- These plans shall extend for the current fiscal year and the two ensuing
fiscal years for biennial budget units for even-year submissions and for the
current fiscal year and the ensuing fiscal year for annual budget units as
well as biennial budget units in odd-numbered years.
- Agencies also need to develop operating plans for each program in the
agency. The plans contain a mission statement, description, goals, performance
measures, and budgetary data. The performance measures shall emphasize
results. The budgetary data shall include funding amounts, regardless of
source. This information is provided to OSPB.
- OSPB is required to compile the operating plan submissions into the
List of State Government Programs in
January of every even-numbered year, no later than 5 days after the start of
the Legislature’s regular session. OSPB has compiled the document
annually since 2008.
- Executive Branch budget units are required to develop 5-year strategic plans
containing strategic issues, mission statement, description, goals, strategies,
and resource assumptions. This plan is to be posted on an agency’s website and
submitted to OSPB and JLBC Staff by January 1 yearly. Amendments to A.R.S § 35-122 in
2013 expanded this requirement from all annual budget units and eliminated the
requirement that House and Senate Appropriations Committees review the plans
- Agencies are required to submit their budget requests using their program
list structure. This allows analysis either by line item of expenditure (e.g.,
Personal Services or Travel) or by program structure, which represents the
most important activities of the agency.
Strategic Program Area
- Laws 2013, 1st Special Session, Chapter 6, the FY 2014 Budget Procedures Budget
Reconciliation Bill, eliminated the Strategic Program Area Reviews process
previously established in A.R.S. §41-1275. The process focused on program areas addressed by
The process consisted of 4 components:
The Joint Legislative Budget Committee determined program areas to be subject to
SPAR. By January 1 of each odd-numbered year, JLBC Staff, in consultation with
OSPB, recommended a list of program areas to JLBC.
Each agency responsible for a SPAR program was required to submit a
self-assessment to the directors of JLBC and OSPB by June 1 of the odd-numbered
year of review.
The Directors of the JLBC and OSPB evaluated the program areas according to
agreed upon factors and jointly produced a report with findings and
recommendations due to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of
Representatives, and the Governor by January 1 of each even-numbered year.
SPAR reports and staff recommendations were reviewed by legislative committees.
Reports were assigned to the Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate
and could additionally be assigned to a standing committee.
- Due to the review of state government as part of resolving budget shortfalls
in FY 2009 - FY 2013, the JLBC did not recommend any program areas to the
Committee for SPAR review in those years.
- For past reviews, see
2009 Strategic Program Area Reviews
2007 Strategic Program Area Reviews
2005 Strategic Program Area Reviews
2001 Strategic Program Area Reviews
1999 Strategic Program Area Reviews
- As part of their strategic planning, agencies are required to develop
performance measures for their agencies as well as for their programs and
subprograms, if any.
History of Budget Process
Below is a list of budget process legislation from previous years, along with
links to the bill’s reference in ALIS as well as JLBC Staff summaries for