Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey yesterday delivered the final State of the State address of his gubernatorial tenure. The speech hit on a number of issues he would like to take on in the 2022 legislative session.
The governor started with a reflection on the past seven years that he’s spent in office and the wins that he’s achieved.
“The state of our State is strong and we are poised to do what everyone in public service strives for: to leave it stronger than we found it,” he said.
Tax cuts, border security, and water security were among the key points that the governor addressed on Monday.
Regarding water security, Gov. Ducey said he wants to, “secure Arizona’s water future for the next 100 years.”
Ducey proposed a historic $1 billion investment in securing Arizona’s water future by focusing on water stewardship infrastructure and technology, as well as on the state’s relationship with Mexico. Ducey’s plan includes a desalination plant relying on water from the Sea of Cortez.
Referencing his executive budget that will be released on Friday, he said he wants to accelerate the widening of Interstate 10, a critical highway for freight mobility and the economic success of the state.
The proposed investments come from the budget surplus that Arizona is experiencing that “has been fueled by historic economic growth,” he said.
Throughout the session, the governor said he aims again to cut taxes to continue fueling the growth in the economy. In 2021, the Legislature passed and the governor signed a tax reform package that will result in the country’s lowest flat tax rate, at 2.5%.
Along with the tax reductions, the governor touted the $169 million that businesses have saved throughout the moratorium period on new regulations. His goal is to have his regulatory reforms made permanent through statute.
On top of tax cuts, one of the biggest focuses of the speech was education and investing in the workers and jobs of the future. Gov. Ducey’s budget will call for a “historic investment in community colleges.” Additionally, there will be proposals for a college tuition waiver for spouses of veterans and a catch-up program for students who have fallen behind academically due to Covid-19.
Governor Ducey made it abundantly clear that while it might be his last session, he has no expectation of it being slow or easy.
“Governor Doug Ducey today made clear that he has no plans to coast through his last legislative session,” Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry President and CEO Danny Seiden said. “From Day 1, this governor has been committed to reducing the size of government, stopping the creep of the regulatory state, and ensuring our tax code attracts job creators. In 2022, Gov. Ducey will only build on his outstanding record of accomplishment that has turned Arizona’s economy into one of the country’s strongest.”