In 2009, the United States was in the midst of the worst economy in decades. At the same time, the State of Arizona was facing its own problems. The state was deep in debt and face major budget shortfalls.

That year also featured a big shake-up in the state's leadership. Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano resigned to become U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. She was succeeded by Republican Jan Brewer, who had been Arizona's secretary of state since 2003. A few months into her new post, Brewer announced drastic actions to try to tackle the crisis.

The State Capitol Complex and various other state-owned properties were sold off

In an unprecedented move, more than 20 Arizona-owned properties were sold to private citizens. The state would then pay rent to use the properties for business as usual. The lease agreement was for 20 years. Not surprisingly, it was a highly controversial move. Had the lease gone for the whole 20 years, the state would've paid more money than the sale brought in. There was also the matter of rather hefty interest payments.

Reports have differed as to how much of a profit the state made at the time. The Hill claims that the state gained approximately $735 million from the deal. However, US News & World Report has the number at $1.4 billion.

Whatever the amount, Brewer went about using the funds for various high-priority projects. In 2010, she was elected in her own right to a full term. Over time, the state raised funds in different ways to eventually buy back the properties. Among these ways was borrowing money against the state's lottery revenue.

In 2012, Governor Brewer moved to reclaim three buildings of the State Capitol Complex.

Unlike most states, where the state legislatures meet in one structure, Arizona's capitol is made up of separate buildings. The buildings that house the state's senate and house of representatives were two of the ones Brewer hoped to buy back. The third was the Executive Tower, which includes offices of the governor and other officials.

Ultimately, the plans to take back these buildings were unsuccessful.

Arizona is set to reclaim ownership of some of the sold properties

The current Governor of Arizona, Republican Doug Ducey, has struck a deal to purchase several of the properties. Unlike in 2009, the state now finds itself in the midst of a budget surplus. Enough so that the governor, who has been critical of the original sale, seems comfortable with making the move.

As might be expected, the three buildings that Brewer hoped to buy back are part of the deal. The government-minded Arizona Supreme Court Building and state library were added. Also included were the state fairgrounds and school of the deaf and blind.

The deal is expected to be finalized in July.