Arizona Farm Bureau v. Brewer

In Arizona Farm Bureau v. Brewer, 226 Ariz. 16, 19,7, 243 P.3d 619, 622 (App. 2010), the Court examined whether the legislature could sweep monies from certain state funds, including the Arizona Iceberg Lettuce Research Council Fund, the Arizona Citrus Research Council Fund, and the Arizona Grain Research Fund, into the general fund despite the trial court's finding that the fees and donations paid into those funds were not general fund monies. Ariz. Farm Bureau, 226 Ariz. at 18,1-3, 243 P.3d at 621. After recognizing that the legislature has broad powers to decide how state funds are prioritized and used, we examined whether the transfer of monies from those funds into the general fund was clearly prohibited by the state or federal constitution. Id. at 19,7-8, 243 P.3d at 622. Specifically, we focused on whether: (1) the "express provisions of the Arizona Constitution prohibited the legislature from touching certain funds," id. at8; (2) "the provisions of the Arizona Constitution known as the Voters Protection Act limited the legislature's ability to divert funds . . . allocated to a specific purpose by an initiative measure approved by a majority of the voters," id. at9 (internal quotation marks omitted); or (3) the public funds were "actually owned by or held subject to the claims of third parties." Id. at10. The Court noted that the constitution provides that fuel tax revenues, public employees' pension funds, and assets in permanent funds created for school and state lands cannot be diverted for general purposes. Id. at 19-20, 8-11, 243 P.3d at 622-23.