Ducey’s budget proposal makes “historic” investment in public health
Governor Doug Ducey released his proposed budget for FY 2022 on Friday, which directs significant funding to Arizona’s COVID-19 response and education. The budget also promises $200 million in tax relief for Arizonans — a move generating disapproval from some legislators who want to see that money go toward public education and unemployment insurance.
Ducey is calling for $115 million in federal CARES Act funding for COVID-19 relief. He also wants to allocate nearly $400 million to address educational setbacks resulting from COVID-19, as well as $250 million for K-12 education. Arizona’s Rainy Day Fund is “well-prepared,” currently containing $954.4 million.
“Arizona is resilient, and we continue to move forward in the face of hardship, loss and disruption,” said Gov. Ducey. “Our budget will keep us moving in the right direction, and it makes strategic investments in our greatest areas of need — K-12 education, forestry management, public health and much more. Kids have missed out on important learning opportunities and classroom time, and we need to use our resources to help students in need catch up and ensure students, regardless of background, stay on the path to success. Additionally, after many months of adjustments and uncertainty, we want to make sure everyday Arizonans and small businesses get to keep more of the money they earn. Arizona’s economy is resilient, and this budget will support that. I look forward to working with lawmakers on a budget that is fiscally responsible and ensures Arizonans’ needs are met.”
The budget provides $3.3 million to hire more long-term care surveyors to investigate high caseloads and the backlog of COVID-19 cases. It dedicates $18 million in continued funding for the Child Care Waitlist and a new program that gives child care to parents pursuing education and nursing degrees. It also allocates $92.7 million in supplemental funding from FY 2021 to stabilize child care centers.
The proposal includes $2.9 million to lower caseloads for investigators at the Arizona Department of Economic Security’s Adult Protective Services program. It also provides $1.5 million to raise provider rates for Adult and Aging Services Agencies.
Ducey wants to direct $25 million to implement the Family First Prevention Services Act, which will focus on keeping children and their families together. He is also calling for $6 million to be dedicated to providing underinsured or uninsured Arizonans with needed substance abuse treatment. He is also allocating $5 million to expand substance abuse treatment programs in prisons.
The budget gives $35 million to public universities’ New Economy initiative. It also provides $6 million in Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funds to support teachers through the Arizona Teacher’s Academy.
The budget additionally gives $54 million to the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry for building renewal needs, along with $17.9 million to provide for increased bed capacity.
Ducey is allocating $375,900 for the establishment of a state hoteling pilot program, which will accommodate the significant increase in teleworkers. He is also allocating $10 million to bolster the Rural Broadband Grant Program .