This month, Governor Doug Ducey made his eighth and final State of the State Address to kick off the Second Session of the 55th Arizona Legislature. Some of the Governor’s top priorities for 2022 include continued focus on public safety, economic prosperity, common sense tax reform, expanding school choice, tuition reimbursement for veterans, and investing in the state’s infrastructure. Here are some highlights from the Governor’s speech.
Governor Doug Ducey vowed to prioritize public safety and the rule of law by calling to increase state trooper pay and bolster cybersecurity. In his address, the Governor proposed a partnership across statewide government organizations to enhance cyber resiliency.
“When it comes to building a budget, public safety will always be at the top of our list,” said Governor Ducey. “And this year, we have a record surplus. So, our budget proposes making our state troopers in Arizona the highest paid law enforcement professionals in the state. I know you agree – they’ve earned it.”
Governor Ducey announced a historic investment with a bold goal: a $1 billion investment to secure Arizona’s water future for the next 100 years. The investments will pave the way for Arizona’s sustainable future by ensuring the state’s water supply, encouraging re-use, and accelerating the technologies of the future.
“With resources available in our budget, a relationship with Mexico that we’ve built and strengthened over the last seven years, and the need clear – what better place to invest more. Instead of just talking about desalination – the technology that made Israel the world’s water superpower – how about we pave the way to make it actually happen,” the Governor said. “So, Speaker Bowers, President Fann, and I have been working, and we propose that we make a historic investment. $1 billion.”
In the past seven years, Arizona has made record investments in infrastructure improvements, including the expansion of I-17 and I-10. Governor Ducey expressed urgency to accelerate the widening of I-10, announcing plans to fund 20 miles on I-10 between Phoenix and Casa Grande. By connecting the state from Phoenix to Tucson, the investment will further ease congestion and enhance economic development in the state.
“A few years ago, we got together and prioritized expansion of the I-17. Then, thanks to the leadership of Senator T.J. Shope and Governor Lewis of the Gila River Indian Community, we paved the way for a wider I-10, to improve movement and commerce between Tucson and Phoenix. But that project is still scheduled several years out from now, and 94 visits as Governor to Southern Arizona will remind you how important this issue is. So, let’s finish the job. Our budget will invest more dollars to get the I-10 completion leap-frogged to the front of the priority list, ahead of schedule, connecting our entire state, north to south.”
Governor Ducey announced a tuition reimbursement program for military veterans’ spouses, furthering Arizona’s commitment to supporting those who served our nation and their families.
“Under the GI bill, [veterans] also get to attend our in-state universities and community colleges free of charge. After all, they’ve already given so much. But how about their spouses? These dedicated husbands and wives have served and sacrificed as well. So, this session, let’s launch a program to waive their tuition too.”
Governor Ducey announced the launch of a summer camp with an emphasis on math, reading, and civics. Further committing to closing the achievement gap among students, Governor Ducey is dedicated to ensuring critical race theory stays out of the classroom and increasing parents’ access to curriculum.
“There’s been too much attention put on masks; and not nearly enough placed on math. A focus on restrictions rather than reading and writing. And its students of color and those in poverty who have been most impacted by the COVID-era posturing and politics of some school board bureaucrats,” the Governor said.