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From critical health care legislation… to landmark tax reform … to significant advancements in child safety … this session saw the adoption of policy priorities that Governor Brewer unveiled as part of her 2013 State of the State address in January.
From the 2013 State of the State address – “By agreeing to expand our Medicaid program just slightly beyond what Arizona voters have twice mandated, we will: protect rural and safety- net hospitals from being pushed to the brink by their growing costs in caring for the uninsured; take advantage of the enormous economic benefits – inject 2 Billion dollars into our economy – save and create thousands of jobs; and provide health care to hundreds of thousands of low- income Arizonans.”
Policy result – Legislature adopts historic Medicaid Restoration Plan, extending cost- effective care to hundreds of thousands of Arizonans. A hospital assessment assures no cost to the General Fund.
State of the State – “Arizona’s abused and neglected children need help. The Executive budget I release Friday will add 150 CPS caseworkers and boost foster care, adoption services and emergency placement of children needing rescue. Because these needs can’t wait, I’m asking you to join me in approving an emergency budget request to hire 50 additional caseworkers right now.”
Result – Legislature appropriates funding for additional 200 CPS caseworkers and support staff, with $69 million for child safety and protection. Funding boosted for foster care, adoption services and emergency placement of children needing rescue.
State of the State – “While we lower the barriers to business growth … keeping regulations lean and taxes competitive … it’s clear we have another problem: our own sales tax system. Sales tax is the most critical source of revenue for core State programs. But our sales tax code is also one of the most complicated in the nation.”
Result – Legislature approves broad sales-tax simplification plan, with backing of business community and local governments.
State of the State – “It’s no surprise that we in Arizona have created a model of recovery very different than that pursued by the administration in Washington, DC. Where they’ve spent, we’ve saved. Where they’ve hampered private industry with excessive rules and regulation, we’ve marshaled the power of the free market.”
Result – FY’14 budget is balanced, and maintains a $450 million Rainy Day Fund with another $300 million in carry forward. Budget also puts State on path to structurally- balanced budget by FY’16. The Governor’s rules moratorium remains in effect.
State of the State – “Today, Arizona must COMPETE for the most desirable jobs for our citizens … the finest teachers in our schools … the most talented students and faculty in our universities.”
Result – The Governor and Legislature have added $82 million to K-12 education; boosted university performance funding ($5 million); invested in the completion of the UA Medical School in downtown Phoenix ($8 million);; continued ‘parity’ funding for ASU and NAU (extra $15.3 million); and aided rural community colleges with capital projects ($2 million).
State of the State – “Whatever your point of view, we should all agree that it’s time we start funding the academic results we want to see. What I am proposing is the nation’s first comprehensive performance funding plan for our districts and charter schools.”
Result – FY ’14 budget includes funding and legislation to lay the foundation for a first- in-the-nation, comprehensive performance-funding program for K-12.
State of the State – “First, we have a responsibility to make certain our children have a safe place to learn … Part of the solution is something that already has a track record of success: the School Resource Officer. My budget plan will expand State funding for these trained officers.”
Result – FY ’14 budget includes additional $3.6 million for school safety equipment and to expand the School Resource Officer program in Arizona schools.
State of the State – “To enable our schools to keep pace with global competition, we’re raising standards and increasing accountability for students, schools and teachers.”
Result – Passage of legislation (HB2425) allows State to replace the old AIMS test with a new assessment aligned with more stringent Common Core standards.
State of the State – “I will be issuing an Executive Order establishing a taskforce against human trafficking. This is truly a crime against humanity – a modern-day slavery in which men, women and children are sold into forced labor or prostitution.”
Result – Established the Governor’s Task Force on Human Trafficking to identify statutory and policy changes so the State can better combat the crimes directly and indirectly associated with this horrific practice.
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