Governor Ducey in Tucson for State of the State

Published: Jan. 9, 2017 at 4:15 PM MST|Updated: Jan. 10, 2017 at 10:56 PM MST
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PHOENIX (Tucson News Now) - For the second time in two days, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey delivered his State of the State address.

It's a tradition for the Governor to come to Tucson to deliver the address a second time after opening the state legislature.

The 5,000 word, one hour speech was shortened to about 3,500 words and 35 minutes for the 600 who gathered at the TCC for a luncheon and speech hosted by the Tucson Metro Chamber of Commerce.

While the speech was shorter, most of the education component was left in.

In the speech, the governor says "it's time for a pay raise for all Arizona teachers."

Some lawmakers have questioned whether the state has the money for a teacher salary increase but Ducey said he will unveil the numbers when he releases his proposed budget Friday.

He is also suggesting teachers who graduate from a proposed Teacher Academy do so debt free and with the promise of a job.

He also wants to give a $1,000 bonus to those who choose to teach in inner city, under performing schools.

The Governor said when he was elected two years ago, the state did not have the money for teachers and many education programs but now the state has a surplus and "the bulk of the money should go to education."

While the Governor touted his business success and claim to creating 100.000 new jobs in the state, he emphasized the importance of trade with Mexico. He will be in Mexico later this week to discuss trade.

It came as a surprise to many that the Governor also spent a considerable amount of time talking about the poor and vulnerable.

He's proposing a "Grandmother stipend" for grandparents, aunts and uncles who raise and care for children rather than ship them off to foster homes.

He's requesting employment programs in prisons and the administering of the drug Vivitrol to addicts before they leave prison. He called it "a miracle drug."

He's also proposing to reverse last year's cuts to cash assistance to needy families.

The Arizona Legislature opens its 2017 session on Monday, Jan. 9, with Gov. Doug Ducey's State of the State address scheduled for 2 p.m.

The governor is expected to lay out his plans for cutting taxes, paying for education and continuing growth in the state.

Ducey pledged to cut taxes every year in office but has not laid out his plans to do so yet for the coming year. He will likely do that today.

Of interest for southern Arizona is the lawmakers' passage of SB 1487 last year which prohibits charter governments from enforcing their own laws and ordinances.

Tucson is challenging the law in court because it prohibits the city from destroying confiscated guns. The city passed an ordinance to do so in 2005. The state says that violates SB 1487 and has threatened to withhold $115 million in state shared revenues if the city does not comply.

Also, Pima County will ask state lawmakers to change the rules to permit imposing a 2 percent sales tax to reduce property taxes.

Pima County is the only county in the state which does not have a sales tax. Because of that, according to county officials, it must rely on property taxes for general funds.

The county has pledged to use "every penny" it collects in sales taxes to reduce property taxes, which are the highest in the state.

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