The Governor’s proposed budget is a step in the right direction and I anticipate a dialogue that will continue Arizona on its path to a stable economy and opportunities for prosperity in the coming years. I look forward to sitting down with the Governor and reconciling our budget analyses and developing a balanced budget.
Arizona’s economy is improving, but at a slow pace. Arizona continues to have a structural deficit, spending more money than we bring in. I am encouraged that the Governor shares my view that now is not the time to have a short-term view of the state’s financial situation.
The Governor shares many of the same priorities as leadership in the Legislature. The Legislature is aligned with Governor Brewer’s priorities for enhancing our K-12 education system. Keeping Arizona on a competitive global edge is what we all envision for every student in this state. Our legislative budget incorporates $700 million in K-12 funding alone over the next three years. This clearly demonstrates a similar commitment to education.
We also recognize the immediate need to change course on the current child welfare system. I applaud the Governor’s judicious approach in reforming the Child Protective Services division and directing resources as needed to affect immediate restructuring of the agency. We have an opportunity to work collaboratively on developing a system that meets the needs of families in crisis. Once we have discovered the root of the systemic problem, we can build a new foundation for helping this vulnerable population. The transparency the Executive has offered throughout this process is greatly appreciated.
Today marks the beginning of this year’s budget process. Over the next several weeks, I expect the Governor and leaders in the Legislature to have many productive budget talks. I am optimistic that we can move forward and produce a budget that will best serve the citizens of Arizona today and in the years to come.”