More great news!  Arizona's economy is growing... and its government bureaucracy is shrinking.  When Governor Ducey took office, he gave government officials a mandate: shrink the size of Arizona's state government, save taxpayers money and improve services.

"And shrink they did," the Arizona Republic reports. "There are fewer people working in the executive branch of state government than there were even during the recession."  At the same time, Arizona added more than 300,000 NEW JOBS in the private sector.

We've also made big strides in making government more efficient and accountable:  Wait times at the DMV are down.  The Department of Child Safety's backlog has been safely cleared.  More services have moved online.  And Arizona has wiped away 1,098 burdensome regulations — saving taxpayers $79 million.

Read more in the Arizona Republic:

As Arizona's Population Continues To Grow, The State's Government Continues To Shrink

Arizona's population is growing. But its state government is not.

The ranks of the state’s civil service have shrunk by 15% since 2008. Arizona’s population has grown 14% during the same period, according to an annual report by Gov. Doug Ducey’s administration.

State employees have a key role in Arizonans' daily lives. They monitor air quality, maintain highways, investigate child abuse allegations and issue drivers' licenses, among a myriad of other tasks. 

There are fewer people working in the executive branch of state government than there were even during the recession, when state leaders slashed programs and sold state buildings to balance budget shortfalls.

The data reflect an approach to governing that Ducey has touted as fiscally conservative. But the thinning ranks of Arizona’s civil service have also led to understaffing in some areas that officials have criticized as outright dangerous.

The state personnel system consisted of 32,997 people this year. That includes nearly all agencies in the executive branch of government, excluding the Department of Public Safety and the state's universities.

The Department of Public Safety employed another 1,923 people, down from 1,974 last year.

The state is one of the biggest employers in Arizona, with more employees than Kroger or Wells Fargo have locally.

But a little more than a decade ago, in 2008, there were 37,956 people working in these state agencies.

The state slashed staffing significantly during the recession and its immediate aftermath.

By 2010, the number in the state personnel system had fallen to 33,213.

Ducey’s predecessor, Jan Brewer, signed legislation in 2012 that made it easier for the state government to fire employees without cause.

Ducey gave department directors a mandate when he took office in 2015 to shrink the size of government and shrink they did.

And over the past couple years, the ranks of state government have fallen back down to the lows seen during the recession’s depths.

Ducey said Tuesday that the state needs additional workers in some areas, such as the Department of Corrections and Department of Child Safety.

Still, he argued staffing cannot be measured entirely by numbers of employees, noting that he has challenged agency directors to use more technology where possible and ensure greater efficiency.

"We are in a position today where we are much more cash flow positive than we have been in the past. What I don't want to see us do is go on a spending spree, or see any turf wars or fiefdom-building," he told reporters after an event marking Manufacturing Month.

Read the full story online »

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