Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey touted the state’s growth and pledged no new taxes in the upcoming year during his sixth state of the state address.
Reducing the state’s regulatory burden on citizens was also a highlight of Ducey’s address on Monday.
“Cutting red tape? We were doing it before it was cool,” Ducey said, taking a shot at left-leaning states like Washington and California that he said have higher taxes and more burdensome regulations.
“That’s the wrong way; we’ll stick to the Arizona way,” he said.
Ducey signed first of its kind legislation last year that allowed occupational licenses from other states to be used in Arizona.
Despite the Grand Canyon State’s economic strength and growing population, “we’re not going on a spending spree,” Ducey said.
“No new taxes – not this session, not next session, not here in this chamber, not at the ballot box, not on my watch,” he said, highlighting that the state is now sitting on a $1 billion rainy day fund – the highest amount in the state’s history.
Ducey also announced a plan to eliminate taxes on pensions of military veterans and the creation of a rural jobs program. The state's highways will see a $50 million boost for broadband capacity, and $10 million in additional grant funding will go towards broadband improvement in rural areas.
“We’ve been on a blitz to wipe out needless regulations,” Ducey said, noting over 2,200 regulations have so far been eliminated, “the equivalent of a $134 million tax cut without impacting the general fund one penny.”
He announced a new executive order that he said will eliminate three regulations for every new regulation.
“New regulations will naturally mean less regulations,” Ducey added.
On education, the governor said teacher pay in the state will be up 20 percent this year and a $6.6 billion investment in schools, up from $4.5 billion.
A plan to shut down Florence State Prison will save $274 million over the next few years, Ducey said. He's also budgeted to fund over 1,200 body cameras for Department of Public Safety (DPS) troopers and committed more funding for criminal rehabilitation programs.