Gov. Ducey releases summary of executive budget - Tucson News Now

Gov. Ducey releases summary of executive budget

(Source: KOLD News 13) (Source: KOLD News 13)
PHOENIX (Tucson News Now) -

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey released the summary for the executive budget on Friday, Jan. 13.

Some of the highlights include $453 million more for education over three years, $5 million to bring broadband access to rural schools and increase funding for public safety and corrections.

The proposed budget for 2018 is 1.8% bigger than last year at $9.6 billion.

It's a structurally balanced budget according to the Governor's office, which in essence means the increases in spending are not off-set by non-recurring funding.  

You can read the budget summary HERE.

Still, there will be additional spending in education of $113 million above the baseline. That includes $13.6 million annually for a recurring teacher pay raise. That's about $800 for a teacher making $40,000. But it won't likely make a dent in teacher retention because it's spread out over five years.

"They're actually getting four tenths of a percent a year for five years," said District 9 State Senator Steve Farley. "That's about $15 a month for the average teacher in Arizona." 

All day kindergarten will get $19 million for the districts which qualify, generally those in low income areas.

The Governor also wants to increase the "Grandmother stipend" by $1 million. That will be paid to grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family members who care for related children rather than sending them to foster care.

The Governor will also restore TANF funding, cash assistance for needy families, back to the levels he cut last year which includes the assistance for 24 months up from the present 12.

The Governor also proposes spending $5 million to install broadband, high speed internet to rural areas where it's currently hard to get. 

Some are critical of the cuts that are being proposed to close the gap and pay for the new spending.

According to Farley, $90 million will come from Highway User Revenue Funds, gas tax dollars which are used to pay for roads. 

"He steals from our gas tax to pay for our schools and that's not what people want," he said. "We need good roads and good schools."

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