Last week, Governor Ducey released his FY 2018 executive budget plan, providing more details around his policy priorities outlined in the State of the State address. Relying on a “realistic and achievable” rate of “slow but sustainable growth” in the coming year, the $10.1 billion proposal modestly increases state spending in anticipation of an improving state economy. The budget would put spending above pre-recession levels for the first time; the last time Arizona contemplated this much spending was in 2006-2007.
Not surprisingly, the governor remains committed to K-12 education with 80 percent of new investments dedicated to Arizona’s public schools. In particular, under the Governor’s plan, schools would receive a total of $100 million in permanent funding (with continued increases over the next four years) for strategic investments in 21st century classrooms, like using learning technologies. Other proposals include $51.8 million for school construction and repairs, as well as funding for permanent teacher raises, a computer science pilot program and students with disabilities.
Consistent with Governor Ducey’s promise to run state government “at the speed of business,” his 2018 budget also included a number of IT modernization efforts, many of which we have tracked for years. However, there were some newcomers to governor’s IT spending plan.
Here are some highlights of Governor Ducey’s budget:
- $5.3 million for the Department of Education to continue its work on the AELAS project
- $14.5 million for the Department of Child Safety to complete the third year of a four-year replacement of the child welfare data system
- $8.8 million for IT projects to support ongoing efforts to enhance state operations and business practices, including the state’s data center, e-procurement and state agency website improvements
- $1.5 million for an updated case management system at the Arizona attorney general’s office
- $900,000 for two boards to join the ongoing effort of the state’s e-licensing system
- $3.2 million for the Department of Environmental Quality to further automate the MyDEQ online platform
- $4.1 million for IT projects at the Department of Public Safety, including $2.8 million to finish the ACJIS upgrade and $1.3 million for the next phase of upgrading the state’s microwave communication system
- $2.1 million for a new voter registration database in the secretary of state’s office
Now, it is up to the legislature to debate which projects will receive funding. With the different economic projections - the nonpartisan Joint Legislative Budget Committee believes the current fiscal year will end with a cash shortfall of $20 million – it will be a lively deliberation.