Budget ensures continued excellent fiscal health, while making smart investments in critical areas
PHOENIX (January 17, 2020) –Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry President and CEO Glenn Hamer released the following statement regarding Gov. Doug Ducey’s Fiscal Year 2021 Executive Budget:
“When Gov. Doug Ducey’s gubernatorial tenure began, the state was facing a daunting $1 billion deficit. Today, our Rainy Day Fund sits at $1 billion and we are approaching $1 billion in cash. This remarkable turnaround is thanks to Gov. Ducey’s wise approach to budgeting and because of his embrace of pro-growth policies that have strengthened Arizona’s competitive standing—policies the Arizona Chamber has been proud to champion.
“The Executive Budget released today ensures that Arizona will remain in excellent fiscal health, while also making smart investments in critical areas.
“Arizona job creators are especially encouraged by the investments in our education system. More than 60% of all new spending is education-related, encompassing the education continuum from K-12, to community colleges, to universities. We applaud the third phase of the 20×2020 plan to raise average statewide teacher pay by 20%, the accelerated restoration of additional assistance, and the nearly $35 million to expand Results Based Funding, which rewards schools earning excellent outcomes. This funding model makes it possible to sustain and grow those schools’ ability to deliver a great education to more students.
“We strongly support the governor’s efforts to ensure we have a workforce ready to fill today’s jobs and attract new ones. This budget continues his commitment to reward schools whose Career and Technical Education (CTE) graduates earn industry-approved credentials. CTE works. CTE students not only stay in school, but they graduate from high school ready-for-hire in in-demand fields and prepared for advanced technical training.
“The Chamber applauds this budget’s multi-million-dollar investment in higher education. This budget ensures that on an ongoing basis our state universities will be able to pursue major national research grants and can continue to produce graduates who are equipped to compete in the new economy, while also directing needed resources to community colleges, which in both our rural and urban areas are critical players in the state’s economic development strategy.
“The governor’s approach to infrastructure should also be applauded. Under this plan, Interstate 10, a commerce corridor vital to Arizona’s economy, will be widened and the bridge over the Gila River expanded. The governor’s designation of new Smart Highway Corridors will make our highways safer and reduce bottlenecks, which is especially important with the nearing implementation of USMCA, which will likely result in increased freight traffic in Southern Arizona.
“Arizona’s legal environment has been central to its reputation as a jobs-friendly state. The men and women who serve on the Arizona bench are a testament to the quality of Arizona’s judiciary. The recommend judicial pay raise will receive strong support from the Chamber.
“We are also encouraged to see the call for an increase in funding for the Arizona Office of Tourism. Tourism is a crown jewel of the Arizona economy. It’s an export industry, and it’s a job creator.
“The Chamber appreciates the governor’s call to restore the Arizona Competes Fund. The Arizona Commerce Authority is a top-notch economic development organization and has been at the center of the tremendously successful efforts to attract new jobs to Arizona. We are pleased to support the plan to ensure the agency has the tools it needs to continue that success here and around the globe.
“Finally, the Chamber last year cheered the major deposit into the state Rainy Day Fund. Another significant investment in the fund under this budget ensures state government will be able to meet its core responsibilities should the state and national economy encounter any turbulence.
“We look forward to working with Gov. Ducey and the Legislature on these and other initiatives supported by the state’s job creators that will enhance our competitiveness and continue Arizona’s role as a jobs juggernaut.”
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