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Governor Ducey signs the state’s $18 billion budget for fiscal year 2023

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Governor Doug Ducey signed Arizona’s fiscal year 2023 budget on Tuesday after state lawmakers approved the bipartisan $18 billion budget bill last week.

Governor Ducey called the budget “A responsible program that pays down debt, secures our future, and lays the foundation for even greater growth, while investing in the areas that matter most to Arizonans.”

The biggest expense in the new budget is $1.15 billion to pay public safety pensions. The state says this is the first time pension plans for public safety personnel have been fully funded since 2004.

The governor’s office budget breakdown lists spending by category: education, public safety, health and welfare, natural resources, and infrastructure.

Education

  • $330.5 million to completely eliminate the State Equalization Tax Rate (SETR), a statewide tax currently applied to personal property to fund K-12 education Year, and Fill Property Tax Revenue Losses in K-12 with General Fund Support: The Largest Single Education Expenditure in This Budget Signed by Governor Ducey
  • $329 million to increase Basic Support Level education spending, the largest dollar and percentage increase in per-pupil funding in 20 years
  • $183.3 million to maintain school facilities through Building Renovation Grants, the largest building renovation investment in the program’s history
  • $126 million to continue supporting new economy initiatives at Arizona public universities
  • $100 million in special education funding for Arizona public schools
  • $50 million in ongoing funding for school safety, supporting the salaries of school resource officers
  • $20 million for the School Safety Interoperability Program, which provides funding to county sheriffs for real-time communication solutions between schools and public safety agencies in the event of an emergency
  • $16.6 million in adult education programs that provide continuing education programs at the high school and workforce levels
  • $12.5 million to expand Promise Scholarship program at Arizona universities
  • $10.8 million to restore STEM education funding levels for Pima and Maricopa Community Colleges
  • $10 million to scrap graduate school tuition for spouses of veterans
  • $10 million to help build and operate East Valley Institute of Technology’s Transitional Housing Program for Youth in Foster Care
  • $7 million in funding for rural community colleges

public safety

  • Deposit of $564.2 million in the Border Security Fund for enhanced patrols, physical barriers, detention and prosecution.
    • $53.4 million allocated to Arizona County Sheriffs to recruit and retain vital law enforcement personnel
    • $30 million for local prosecutions and imprisonment of individuals accused of drug trafficking, human smuggling, illegal immigration and other border-related crimes.
    • $20 million is in ongoing funding to support the Border Strike Task Force
  • $132.8 million to replace evaporative cooling with air-conditioned units in all state prisons over 4 years
  • $117 million to provide a 20% wage increase for all Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Rehabilitation salaries
  • $50.9 million to support infrastructure needs for the Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Rehabilitation statewide, which will improve safety for staff and inmates
  • $25 million for a 15% pay raise for Department of Public Safety law enforcement professionals
  • $10 million to launch a statewide cybersecurity readiness grant program and provide cybersecurity tools to local governments and school districts
  • $5 million in 20% pay raises for Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections officers.
  • $10 million to establish the Major Incidents Division at the Department of Public Safety that can investigate critical force incidents
  • $6.3 million to establish a First Responder Academy in Cochise County
  • $3.8 million to automate crime victim notifications allowing for better coordination and communication between law enforcement and crime victims

health and wellbeing

  • $94 million to address health worker shortages
    • $50 million in competitive grants for community colleges and universities looking to expand their nursing programs
    • $27 million for more clinical rotations needed to complete nurse training
    • $15 million for a nursing education investment partnership between hospitals and nursing education programs to increase the number of classroom spaces for the profession
    • $2 million for a new behavioral health student loan repayment program
  • $80.9 million for rate increases for providers serving people with developmental disabilities or who are elderly and physically disabled. Combined with the federal counterpart, the total investment is $281.2 million
  • $72.7 million for various housing strategies to reduce homelessness
    • Deposit of $60 million in the Housing Trust Fund
    • $10 million for pilot grant program for homeless services
    • $2.4 million for housing homeless veterans at Fort Whipple
  • $25 million to build five new secure residential behavioral health facilities
  • $11.2 million to add 95 more staff to Adult Protective Services to improve coverage for referrals of abuse or neglect of older adults or vulnerable adults
  • $16 million for expanded covered services in AHCCCS
    • $10 million to improve access to pregnancy care services by achieving parity with private providers
    • $2.7 million to provide coverage for women who are less than a year postpartum and do not exceed 150% of the federal poverty level
  • $10 million expands the Healthy Families program by 25% or approximately 1,500 families
  • $4.8 million to increase the daily foster care allowance, directly supporting children, the first increase since 2009
  • Investing $3 million in Regional Agencies for Aging Services that help maintain the independence of Arizona seniors by providing in-home services such as meal delivery

Natural resources

  • $176.7 million in federal and state resources, the largest investment in state history, to boost rural tourism through 33 state park system projects, which include campground upgrades, renovation of historic structures, improving physical and digital access to the parks system and more
  • $65 million in firefighting efforts, building on programs adopted at last year’s special session on fires
  • $41 million to protect Arizona lands through the Arizona Healthy Forest Initiative, $2.2 million of which will help advance the Good Neighbor Authority initiative, allowing the state to partner to federal agencies for forest thinning and other restoration projects in and around communities at risk of forest fire devastation
  • $10 million for grants to aid water projects in eastern Arizona
  • $5 million to remove salt cedars that threaten Arizona’s rivers and waterways
  • $3 million over two years to develop rules for direct drinking water reuse that will pave the way for additional water reuse across the state

Infrastructure

  • $1.045 billion in total strategic transportation initiatives, largest investment in state history
    • $875 million representing 44 transportation projects and initiatives across the state
    • $400 million to bring the state’s total commitment to the Interstate 10 expansion to $540 million, which will cover 20 miles of the 25-mile segment and replace the Gila River Bridge. This investment will further position the state to receive federal funds to fully fund the aforementioned 25-mile segment between Phoenix and Casa Grande.
    • Deposited $50 million in the newly created State Match Advantage for Rural Transportation (SMART) fund to help communities outside the urban cores of Maricopa and Pima counties and the Arizona Department of Transportation compete for federal transportation grants to improve the state’s transportation system
    • Deposited $20 million in aviation fund to support airport infrastructure statewide

Additional expenses

  • $425 million to bring the Rainy Day Fund to its highest amount: $1.4 billion
  • $93.5 million in state building debt repayment
  • $73.5 million in federal funds to replace the state’s old Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund computer system, which will improve efficiency and reduce fraud
  • $49.1 million for a general wage increase for state employees
  • $15 million to further develop the Business One-Stop project, which will provide individuals and businesses with a single portal to interact with the multiple agencies needed to start and maintain a business

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Anne Simmons is a digital content producer for KGUN 9. Anne made her television debut while still a student at the University of Arizona. Prior to joining KGUN, she managed several public access television stations in the Bay Area and worked as a video producer in the nonprofit sector. Share your story ideas and important issues with Anne via email [email protected] or by connecting to instagram Where LinkedIn.