Score one for the Republicans.  It’s the first big win for newly-elected Governor Doug Ducey.  After a grueling all-nighter and hours upon hours of contentious debate, Arizona Legislators passed a $9-billion budget in the wee hours of Saturday morning.  Ducey released a statement praising the passage of the

budget.  According to the release, Ducey says this is the “first structurally-balanced plan since 2007” that reflects a “fiscally responsible a fiscally-responsible, bipartisan budget that sets priorities, makes real permanent decisions and solves the state’s structural deficit while protecting essential services for vulnerable populations.”

“The people elected us to get the job done and that’s what we’ve done,” said Governor Ducey.  “This budget reflects my commitment to representing Arizonans – not special interests. This is a budget that reflects our state’s priorities and for that we should all be proud.”

The budget offered up $326-million in spending reductions, an overall two-point-three percent reduction to government spending and protects the taxpayers with no tax increase.

One point of contention that split the parties fell under education funding. The bill slashed $100-million dollars in education.   Democrats herald the cuts as deeply disappointing that will hurt needy children and their families.  Republicans praise the reduction in education costs and say the opposing party is “disingenuous.”

Classrooms First:

    In total, schools will have more than $10 billion including state, federal, capital and local funds
    Nearly 20% increase in general fund investment in K-12 since 2010
    49% of state general fund budget will go to education (K-12 and universities combined)
    Protects classroom funding, with a net increase in new dollars
    Teach for America: $500,000 in new permanent funding

Higher Education:

    Budget includes more than $600 million in general fund dollars for universities
    7% of state general fund budget
    Protecting rural community colleges from reductions

Republicans say the cuts were necessary to overcome the state $717-million deficit and Arizona needs to learn to live within our means.

Kris Dugan