Ducey Releases Budget With Focus on Education, Border Security and Water

Published by The Bee News

January 15, 2022

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Governor Doug Ducey released his fiscal year 2023 budget, continuing the momentum that has made Arizona a success in the areas of education, public safety, natural resources and infrastructure.

“From paying off billions in debt to taking our Rainy Day Fund to a record-breaking $1 billion, securing a high credit rating and cutting taxes for hardworking Arizonans, we’re making fiscally responsible decisions that benefit the people we serve: the citizens of Arizona,” said Governor Ducey. “Our fiscal year 2023 Executive Budget keeps this stewardship going. We’re going full throttle to leave Arizona stronger than we found it through targeted investments in education, public safety, border security, infrastructure and the things that matter to Arizonans.”

Strengthening Arizona’s Solid Financial Position
For the past seven years, Arizona has lived within its means. Under Governor Ducey’s leadership, Arizona has had the longest stretch of balanced budgets in modern state history. While its population has grown, the budget is balanced, the economy is roaring and the government is smaller and more efficient than it’s ever been. This year, the Executive Budget will continue to secure Arizona’s fiscal future by bringing the Rainy Day Fund to the highest level in state history.

Since 2016, Governor Ducey has fostered $7 billion in new ongoing revenues and returned more than $2 billion of that back to Arizonans’ pockets. In fiscal year 2023, the Governor intends to continue allowing Arizonans to keep more of their hard-earned money with the creation of a State Earned Income Tax Credit, returning an average of $128 annually back to hard-working taxpayers.

Investing in Things That Matter Most to Arizonans 
The Governor’s budget delivers on the issues that matter most to Arizonans. Through historic investments, the Executive Budget promotes school choice and focuses on student outcomes, enhances public safety and trooper pay, addresses the border crisis, augments our water resilience, expands a vital portion of I-10, keeps families together through kinship care, catalyzes the modernization of the State Parks system, and helps Arizona families keep more of their hard-earned money.

Getting Arizona Kids Caught Up and Increasing Accountability for Parents
The proposed budget invests an additional $322 million in K-12 education to get kids back on track as they recover from the effects of the pandemic and remote learning. Further mitigating learning loss, $100 million of federal resources will be allocated to a summer camp, helping to close the achievement gap.

Protecting Arizona’s Southern Border and Arizona Communities
Through targeted investments, the budget continues Governor Ducey’s prioritization of securing Arizona’s southern border. To create the American Governors’ Border Strike Force, a multi-faceted, coordinated effort, the budget allocates $11.6 million. Paired with $50 million for the Border Security Fund, Arizona will have enhanced patrolling, physical barriers, detention and prosecution at the border.

Securing New Water Resources
Building upon monumental water policy, the Executive Budget further invests $1 billion into Arizona’s water future. Through the Drought Mitigation Revolving Fund, rural water projects, increased groundwater capacity and conservation projects, Arizona is creating a sustainable future.

The Governor’s Office briefed Republican and Democratic legislators on the details of the budget this week.

Highlights of the budget plan include:

K-12 and Higher Education

  • $100 million of federal resources to launch summer camps and eliminate learning loss

  • $10 million to waive higher education tuition costs for veterans’ spouses

  • $30 million in federal resources for workforce accelerators at community colleges in partnership with industry leaders

  • $5 million to build upon civics excellence by incentivizing civics attainment

  • $58 million to bring a renewed focus to close the achievement gap at chronically underperforming schools

  • $20 million for a second year of the School Transportation Modernization Grants to elevate best practices of getting students to the school of their choice

  • $60.8 million in additional funding to modernize results-based funding, bringing total funding to $129.4 million annually for successful schools

  • $200 million to maintain school facilities through Building Renewal Grants

  • $89.5 million to complete five new schools already under construction and start construction on three new schools

  • $127 million in additional higher education investments

  • $46 million to support higher education workforce initiatives to prepare students for high-demand jobs

  • $12.5 million to expand the Arizona Promise Program

Health & Welfare

  • $19.8 million to support expanding the monthly kinship stipend from $75 to $300

  • $1.5 billion in crucial federal and state resources for the state’s COVID-19 response

  • $11.7 million to provide optimal care for Arizonans in need through the Arizona State Hospital to address ongoing operational pressures

  • $25.7 million to foster a public-private partnership with Creighton University to expand the Accelerated Nursing Academy

  • $8.2 million to protect Arizona’s most vulnerable and lower the caseload of Adult Protective Service Investigators

Public Safety

  • $50 million deposit in the Border Security Fund for enhanced patrolling, physical barriers, detention and prosecution

  • $11.6 million to expand the Border Strike Force by doubling Department of Public Safety support and tripling local law enforcement grants

  • $30.8 million to increase salaries for Department of Public Safety law enforcement professionals

  • $92.9 million to address the Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry  infrastructure needs across the state that will enhance staff and inmate safety

  • $5 million to expand the Governor’s “Second Chance” initiative that provides employment opportunities for inmates after incarceration, which improves their ability to become productive citizens

  • $10.4 million to address the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs (DEMA) Readiness Center Maintenance backlog

Natural Resources

  • $1 billion over three years for strategic water augmentation projects and resources to secure Arizona’s water future

  • $36.2 million to protect Arizona’s land through the Arizona Healthy Forest Initiative Phase II, bringing the state’s total investment for forest treatments to $42.4 million for FY 2023

  • $16.8 million to increase the Fire Suppression Revolving Fund to $20 million annually, allowing the state to quickly reimburse local fire departments who help respond to wildfires

  • $176.6 million in federal and state resources to spur rural tourism through 44 State Parks System projects, which include upgrading campsites, renovating historic structures, improving the physical and digital access of the park system and more

Government That Works

  • $400 million to bring the total State dedicated commitment to Interstate 10 expansion to $540 million, which will cover 20 miles of the 25-mile segment and replace the Gila River Bridge. This investment will further position the State to receive federal monies to fully fund the aforementioned 25 mile segment between Phoenix and Casa Grande

  • $10 million to launch a statewide cybersecurity readiness grant program and provide cybersecurity tools to local governments and school districts

  • $247 million to bolster Arizona’s lean state workforce and address inflationary pressures and staffing needs

  • $50 million deposit into the newly created State Match Advantage for Rural Transportation (SMART) Fund to support communities outside of Maricopa and Pima Counties and the Arizona Department of Transportation to compete for and secure federal transportation grant monies to improve the State’s transportation system.

  • $24.6 million to prevent cyber breaches through a new cybersecurity risk management program

  • $15.7 million to develop Business One-Stop Portal Phase II, allowing users to seamlessly plan, start and grow a business in Arizona

View the Summary Book, State Agency Book, and Sources and Uses of State Funds HERE.

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