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Budget Achieves Arizona's Priorities

Press Release

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Date:
Location: Phoenix, AZ

BUDGET ACHIEVES ARIZONA'S PRIORITIES

Invests in Moving Arizona Forward

In her State of the State address in January of this year, Governor Janet Napolitano put forth a broad vision for a successful Arizona. The state's budget, passed last week by the Arizona House and Senate and signed by the Governor today, meets that vision.

The new budget reflects the Governor's goals with key investments in Education, Innovation and Foundation and is a modest 2.3 percent increase over last year.

Education

Governor Napolitano believes that training and development of teachers is critical to the economic success of the state, and to the individual life success of each Arizona student. As the Governor said in the State of the State speech, "Aside from the immediate family, there is no more solid predictor of a child's classroom success than the presence of an excellent teacher…. Nobody's ever going to get rich as a teacher - that's not why people choose public service - but nobody should have to go poor as a teacher."

The new budget invests $300 million in education, including:

• $46 million for increased teacher pay
• $2 million for Master Teachers, to cultivate and train excellent teachers and keep them on the job
• $300,000 for teacher continuing education and performance pay
• $29 million for universities, to increase the graduation rate and retain top-notch faculty
• $4.7 million for math and science education
• $2.8 million in additional university student financial aid
• $300,000 for teacher performance pay, and for ‘end of course testing' which ultimately will allow parents and teachers to better track their children's progress in school and give real time results of tests measuring academic achievement

Innovation

From the State of the State: "I believe Arizona has been, and needs to be, a state of innovation; where we don't do the ‘usual' or the ordinary. A state where we recognize our problems and find new ways to fix them." Innovation priorities included in the budget:

• $100 million over four years to grow Arizona's research institute, Science Foundation Arizona
• $25 million for the downtown Phoenix Biomedical campus
• $1.8 million directed to the Department of Commerce to foster business initiatives that include growth in high-tech sectors, foreign direct investment in Arizona and strategic research & development

Foundation

"By ‘Foundation,' I mean more than bricks and mortar. Foundation includes the entire physical infrastructure of our state - our transportation and water systems, the way we handle the quality of our air and our lands. It also includes the basic requirements our families depend upon - housing, health care and the quality of the places we live." Foundation priorities included are:

• $500 million for accelerated highway construction
• $1.2 million for water conservation
• $1.2 million for the Arizona Water Institute
• $2 million to support financing of water infrastructure
• $9 million in additional state and federal funds, for a total of $44 million in
investment in Graduate Medical Education (GME), which will draw more physicians to work in Arizona, and cause more Arizona physicians to stay

The budget also provides funding to continue the Governor's border security initiatives including the Vehicle Theft and Fraudulent Identity task forces; more access to health care for our state's children; expanded assistance for veterans who need access to their benefits; continued improvements to the state veteran home; expanded services for seniors; and continues the effort to increase the availability of domestic violence shelter beds. The budget contains a salary increase of 3.25 percent for state employees.

"This is a good budget," said the Governor, "because it keeps our focus exactly where it needs to be for a state that's growing as fast as we are. I appreciate the hard work that went into producing this budget, and I particularly thank Senate President Tim Bee and House Speaker Jim Weiers, as well as the Democratic leaders Marsha Arzberger, Phil Lopes, Jack Brown and Jorge Garcia, for their work to forge a budget that is in the best interests of all Arizonans."


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