Governor Doug Ducey was in Tucson Wednesday speaking at the Tucson Chamber and then TREO, followed by a visit to the MIRROR Lab at University of Arizona and later speaking at a meeting put on by Tucson Realty & Trust and BleachFleischman for invited real estate and business people.
Gov Ducey’s message was the same at all these meetings, pride for our state and balancing the budget, as well as a plea for Arizonans to work together and help to grow Arizona in a positive way. “Tough times demand tough decisions,” so that’s what he says was done in the budget.
“Over the past several months I’ve spent a fair amount of time with governors from both parties. The advice from all of them has been consistent: “No matter what, get your state’s budget balanced in the first session. Once that’s accomplished then you can tackle everything else,” Ducey said.
“Working with the Arizona Legislature we did that, passing a budget that puts us on the path to structural balance for the first time since 2007 and closing a $1 billion hole.”
“It wasn’t easy, Ducey added. “We made real reductions to government spending and accomplished permanent decisions that reform government – rather than just biting around the edges.”
“Not only will we have a leaner government; we’ll have a better one, more accountable to the taxpayers. And we did all this WITHOUT raising taxes.”
“Naturally, the spending lobby and special interests don’t like it. They just assume government gets bigger and spends more. I happen to believe government shouldn’t spend money that doesn’t exist,” just as he promised during the campaign.
Ducey went on to say, “One thing I’m particularly proud of is that we did all this while protecting education. Here are three facts I’d like you to know about state support for education spending:
1. This budget is the most Arizona has EVER spent on education in our state’s history
2. 49% of the state’s $9.1 billion budget will go to education (K-12 and universities combined)
3. This budget includes more than $600 million in general fund dollars for universities, representing 7% of the state’s budget”
“Our budget is values-based. We set priorities and trimmed back where it matters, protecting the areas that I know we all care the about most,” referring to protecting child protective services, protecting the University of Arizona and pushing money into the classrooms.
Ducey says with the budget now balanced, he can focus on the economy, bring more jobs, not only to Maricopa County where he did happen to sign the huge $2 billion Apple contract less than a month after taking office. He now says he will focus on bringing more California businesses to Arizona, make saving Davis Monthan a state issue and focus on expanding trade and transportation with Mexico.
Not a bad start for a guy who just took office nine weeks ago, on Jan 5, 2015.