- Associated Press - Thursday, October 8, 2015

PHOENIX (AP) - Senate President Andy Biggs wants Arizona’s early childhood development program audited after its board voted to oppose his plan to take much of its voter-approved funding.

Biggs on Thursday said his proposal to take excess money from First Things First to fund K-12 schools respected the will of the voters. Voters approved an 80 cent per pack tax on cigarettes in 2006 to fund health and development programs for children 5 and under.

Biggs want voters to approve taking $200 million the program has in the bank next year and $75 million each year going forward to fund schools.

Board member Nadine Mathis Basha says the board has reserves to ensure programs are funded as tobacco tax revenues decrease. She says lawmakers are sitting on their own big surpluses.

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