Here is some of the Highlights of Gov. Doug Ducey’s 4th State of the State Address.
“Let’s spend these dollars – tens of millions of dollars combined – where they can go to better use: In our public schools and for our teachers.
But before we talk dollars and cents – let’s address something. Some folks think the best argument for a greater investment in our public schools is to claim that our schools are failing. They are wrong.
The most compelling argument for investing in our public schools is that they are improving and getting better. And it has the added benefit of actually being true.”
On Ending Regulations
“For example, while bureaucrats in Washington target Arizona’s Salt River horses, we’re targeting needless state regulations.
Last year we wiped out 676. Eliminated them. And our estimates show that these reforms have saved real people more than $48 million. That’s the equivalent of a $48 million tax cut, without costing the general fund one dollar. But we’re not stopping there. For decade, after decade, after decade, red tape has been added – and for too long, no one in government ever stopped to ask “why?”
Well, Juan Carlos in Tucson did ask “why.” Juan Carlos wanted to give back, providing haircuts to homeless veterans. The way he saw it – it was a way to recognize their service, and give them a helpful hand, maybe to prepare for a job interview.
That was, until the bullies at the State Cosmetology Board sought to stop him and stall his career, because he hadn’t kissed their ring.
This is the kind of service that should be celebrated – not sanctioned.”
On taxes for the Military
“Every day we say goodbye to members of our Greatest Generation, including our Navajo Code Talkers. And it’s important our kids – the next Greatest Generation – know their history, and know these stories. There’s also more we can do for those who have served so nobly and bravely.
Like letting our vets keep more of the benefits they have so courageously earned. It’s been nearly 30 years since Arizona created the tax exemption for military retirement pay. But it’s capped and not once, have we increased it.
Arizona has more than 600,000 veterans, and for the military retirees who quality for the exemption, inflation alone has chopped it in half. Their service has earned them a lifetime benefit from our nation. So please, send me a bill that increases the exemption and demonstrates to our vets that we value this service.”
On the Child Safety Department
“Meanwhile, just two years ago, the problems at the state’s new Child Safety department seemed insurmountable. But because of the committed service of our state’s child safety workers, non-profit organizations and the faithbased community, combined with legislative support – the Casey Family Programs just named Arizona the best in the country for its foster care reduction.
The backlog that plagued the agency for so long, has been eliminated. The average caseload has dropped from 145 cases to 16. And since a year ago, we’ve found safety and permanency for nearly 11,000 children. So I’m proud to announce that our budget investment this year will be in adoption services, because we are finding kids loving homes again.”
On Wrong Way Drivers
“On the topic of public safety, we wake up too frequently these days to the report of another death on our highways. A wrong-way driver – and in many cases, it comes back to drugs or alcohol. You’d think it was obvious by now, but to anyone out there who hasn’t gotten the memo: Booze, drugs and driving don’t mix. Your actions are beyond foolish – they are lethal. And we will not tolerate it.
Let’s pass a bill: Those reckless enough to put lives on the line by driving the wrong-way on our highways, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, should face a felony conviction and prison time. No exceptions.”
On the Border and Cindy McCain
“Two years in, our Border Strike Force continues to stop the flow of illegal drugs, weapons and cash into our state. We made a decision: If Washington D.C. wasn’t going to secure our border; Arizona would.
So far, the stats are staggering. 238 guns. Seized. 167,745 rounds of ammunition. Seized. 47,842 pounds of marijuana. Seized. And 11 million – 11 million – hits of heroin. Seized. All by our brave and smart Troopers working alongside local, federal and Mexican authorities. This is without a doubt making Arizona – and America – a safer place, and it’s worthy of our continued investment.
Contributing to this effort: Cindy McCain’s tireless work to shine a light on human trafficking, and to end it. She’s here today. Cindy, you and Senator McCain have all Arizona’s love, prayers and support. “