Arizona Heritage Fund Reinstated But Without Lottery Funds
Gov. Doug Ducey on Friday signed a bill reinstating the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund. But the fund will be devoid of state lottery money until at least 2029.
The fund, which was suspended following the Great Recession, provided $10 million from the state lottery to go toward parks each year. The new measure does not provide any money but allows for funds to be added starting in 2029. Janice Miano is with the Arizona Heritage Alliance, which pushed for reinstatement of the fund. She said cities and towns will have to rely on other sources of funding for now.
“Some of them held fundraisers, some of them had parks halfway built and had to put everything on hold until they got more money," Miano said.
Reinstatement of the fund was pushed in the state Legislature by Sen. Kate Brophy McGee, R-Phoenix, and Rep. Joanne Osborne, R-Goodyear. Osborne’s bill, which would have reconnected the fund to state lottery money, did not pass. She said lottery money is now part of the state’s general fund, which legislators are hesitant to touch.
“That’s where it gets real complicated, because then all of the different priorities of our state come into play as we look at the ongoing money needed, whether it’s for education or law enforcement," Osborne said.
Miano plans to lobby for a bill next legislative session to put state lottery money back into the fund.