We wanted to make sure you saw this – Arizona's balanced budget for the next year. It's fiscally conservative, while making smart, targeted investments in education, public safety, border security, roads and more.

Since 2015, we've turned a $1 billion deficit into a $1 billion surplus and put $1 billion in the Rainy Day Fund — without raising taxes. Our economy is booming. And Arizona was just ranked the #2 state for job growth.

We got here by doing things the Arizona Way, and we're ready to pour on the gas. This year's budget is our best conservative policy agenda to date, and we're excited to share it with you.

Read Governor Ducey's op-ed in the Arizona Republic:

My 2020 Budget Focuses On Things That Matter, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey Says

It’s 2020, the start of a new decade. As we look around, things look a lot different than when we entered the last decade.

Arizona’s roaring economy has added 350,000 new jobs since 2015, with 70,000 additional jobs expected in the coming year. Our population is surging, with 300 people moving here a day.

Household incomes have hit a record high, while poverty has decreased faster than anywhere in the country.

Our budget is balanced, state revenues are through the roof, and we’ve grown our rainy day fund to the highest it’s ever been – $1 billion.

It’s no secret how we turned things around following the Great Recession. In fact, families around our state do this every day: living within their means, saving for a rainy day and prioritizing the things that really matter, like our kids and their futures.

We got here by doing things our way, the Arizona Way. And we’re about to pour on the gas with our most robust agenda to date.

Our plan for 2020 includes smart, targeted investments in the things that matter: Relief for hard-working taxpayers, and a continued focus on fiscal responsibility.

1. Give veterans a financial break

Arizona has always been a state that honors its veterans. They’ve served our country in ways we can never repay. That’s why my budget eliminates all income taxes on our veterans’ military pensions.

This worthy proposal will save the average veteran in our state nearly $900 — real dollars that will make a real difference for those to whom we owe everything.

We have a goal: To make Arizona home base for veterans everywhere in the country. These women and men make our state stronger. They’ve put our country first; now with this budget, Arizona will put them first.

2. Prioritize teachers and schools

This year, we’re also continuing investments in Arizona’s biggest priorities, starting with K-12 public education. Since 2015, Arizona has increased dollars for K-12 education faster and more consistently than at any time in the last 20 years.

But we need to do more, and our budget does so in a thoughtful, targeted and sustainable way.

We start with our hard-working teachers. This year’s budget adds an additional $175 million to fulfill 20% teacher pay raises by the start of school year 2020, bringing the total permanent dollars added for teacher pay over the last three years to $645 million.

And we’re going to work to get more teachers into the Arizona Teachers Academy, a program that allows students who commit to teaching in an Arizona public school to graduate from an Arizona public university debt-free.

More than 2,170 future teachers were in the program at the start of the fall semester. This year, we plan to expand it by allowing college students pursuing all majors to enter the program, opening slots for teachers seeking master’s degrees to teach dual enrollment courses, and opening access for future teachers of blind students.

We’re fully restoring permanent, flexible dollars cut during the recession, providing a total of $371 million that can be used for needs like textbooks, new technology and building upgrades. We’re prioritizing school safety, by more than doubling our investment in cops on campus, school counselors and social workers.

We’re going to continue to provide funds to get schools built faster and on time, providing more than $100 million for building upgrades – a 35% increase – and more than $65 million to help construct nine new schools around the state.

We’ll also target new dollars to help close the achievement gap, a program we call “Project Rocket.” The idea is simple: help schools in low-income areas through added resources and the tools and expertise needed to produce better outcomes for kids. This innovative model has seen success in districts such as Avondale, Wickenburg and Deer Valley. Our budget expands it to all of Arizona.

3. Recognize needs in rural areas

With a growing population, we need growing infrastructure. My budget builds on recent expansions with $28 million to accelerate the widening of Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson. The investment fully funds a new six-lane bridge on I-10 across the Gila River, one that sees 28 million users a year, with capacity for even more lanes in the future.

There are currently more than 2,000 unfilled manufacturing jobs outside of Maricopa and Pima counties. We want to get those filled and we have a plan: Arizona’s Rural Jobs Initiative.

  • First, it involves a new $4 million investment in our rural community colleges to better align jobs available with job training being offered.
  • Second, we are launching a partnership with Local First Arizona to help grow entrepreneurship in rural areas and keep small business strong and healthy.
  • Third, we’re adding $1 million to expand promotional efforts of Arizona’s pristine state parks, which serve as major economic drives in rural areas.

This effort will be paired with a historic investment in rural broadband capability. Too many rural communities still lack high-speed internet, limiting opportunities in health care, education public safety and more. This year, we are going to triple our investment in Rural Broadband Grants, providing $10 million to accelerate the enhancement of broadband infrastructure.

We’re also adding nearly $50 million in funding to install over 500 miles of broadband conduit and fiber optic cable along designated highway segments. These new corridors will pave the way for even greater investments from the telecom industry and local communities.

4. Make Arizona even safer

Public safety is another issue we will always prioritize. So, in addition to meeting equipment needs for our state troopers, this year’s budget funds the purchase of 1,267 body cameras for sworn personnel at the Department of Public Safety to enhance trooper safety and promote public transparency.

And as we improve safety, we must never lose sight of those most in need. Over recent years, Arizona’s Department of Child Safety has improved to become a model for the country, including safely reducing the number of children in out-of-home care by 4,625 kids.

We want to do even more to find permanent, loving homes for all kids in the state’s care. That’s why my budget funds a $19 million investment in new adoption funding with a focus of keeping families together and giving more support to children with disabilities.

At our Department of Corrections, we’ll continue to focus on providing Second Chances, through increased investments like expanding substance abuse treatment and educational programming. We’ll also be shutting down a state prison, saving taxpayers $274 million over three years and helping to eliminate corrections officer vacancies at other facilities.

These investments just begin to scratch the surface of our agenda for 2020 – it’s expansive, responsible and focused on the things that matter. The Arizona Way is what’s led us here, and that’s the path we will continue on in 2020 and beyond.

Read the full op-ed online »

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