PHOENIX – Governor Doug Ducey today announced his core priorities and policy initiatives for the 52nd Arizona Legislature. Before a joint session in the House chamber, the governor delivered his first State of the State address.
Highlights of the speech:
- Governor Ducey called on the Legislature to confront and resolve the state deficit and implement a responsible, balanced budget.
- The governor announced his budget proposal will prioritize money in the classroom through a Classrooms First Initiative.
- Through executive order, the governor is assembling a team of education and finance professionals charged with scrubbing every dollar in every formula in statute in order to identify ways in which to get maximum dollars into the classroom.
- The governor called for the passage of the bipartisan American Civics Bill, to ensure every Arizona high school graduate understands basic American civics. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has called this the “quiet crisis in education.”
- The creation of the “Arizona Public School Achievement District,” to give Arizona’s best public schools new and innovative options to expand so that the thousands of families sitting on waiting lists can finally ensure their kids get a quality education.
- A plan to give public schools more access to capital so they can spend more in the classroom and less on debt service. The governor’s budget will reserve resources that our best public schools can borrow against to bring down their debt service costs. And half the projects funded will be in low-income communities.
- The governor will implement a state government hiring freeze – with protections for vital areas, like child safety and public safety.
- The governor called for an unbiased inspector general mandated to find areas of savings – and where corruption exists, shine a light on it.
- A proposal to permanently index Arizona’s income tax to inflation, eliminating an automatic tax increase Arizonans face each year.
- Adding a small business person to the Regulatory Review Council.
Statement from Governor Ducey
“I look forward to working with the Legislature to address the priority issues set forth in my State of the State address. Our state isn’t without its challenges, but we have the leadership to reach our full potential. Our top priority is balancing the state’s budget, and in that process, we are going to protect classrooms and we are going to protect taxpayers. So let’s let politics stand down for a while as future elections wait their turn. It’s time to get to work for the people of Arizona.”
Governor Ducey will release his proposed executive budget this Friday, January 16.