Governor Doug Ducey released his $9.5 billion fiscal year 2017 budget Friday, with additional spending in the child safety, public safety and education.
The governor’s budget proposal infuses a large amount of money into the state’s troubled child safety system, including adding child welfare caseworkers and paying for the nearly 20,000 Arizona kids in foster care.
It does not replace most of the $99 million cut from the state university system and makes modest increases in K-12 education.
The budget proposal does not address Gov. Ducey’s promised tax cuts.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Includes $106 million in additional money for K-12 education. It includes more money for job-readiness and college readiness programs. However, that money does not increase per-pupil funding beyond cost of inflation. Proposition 123, which goes to the voters in May, would increase per pupil funding by approximately $300 per year for 10 years.
- Provides for a $134 million increase in funding for child safety
- Directs $1.8 million to open a 100-bed community corrections center
- Adds $31.5 million to expand the border strike force to stop illegal drug trafficking in southern Arizona.
The governor’s budget prioritizes vital commitments such as K-12 education, child safety and public safety while promoting fiscal responsibility, protecting our most vulnerable and finding cost-savings for Arizona taxpayers.
“We have a moral and legal obligation to pass a balanced budget said Governor Ducey said. “Just as importantly, we have a responsibility to protect our most vital commitments and vulnerable citizens. This budget brings us to structural balance by the end of fiscal 2017 while making critical investments in K-12 education, child safety and public safety – all without raising taxes.”
The Governor’s budget proposal now goes to the republican-controlled state legislature. Appropriations hearings start later this month.
Senate President Andy Biggs said, “This session we will work responsibly to spend within our means and make choices that will grow the economy and enhance opportunity for Arizonans.”
“I am committed to keeping this state out of the red and on a fiscally stable path,” said House Speaker David Gowan.
Those with questions about the budget plan can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The public hearing outlining the budget plans was the first budget hearing to be live-streamed online in Arizona.