Governor Ducey elaborates on education funding, taxes and opioid crisis


TED SIMONS: COMING UP ON "ARIZONA HORIZON," A CONVERSATION WITH GOVERNOR DOUG DUCEY DISCUSSING A VARITEY OF ISSUES RANGING FROM EDUCATION TO WATER CONCERNS. GOVERNOR DOUG DUCEY NEXT ON "ARIZONA HORIZON."

"ARIZONA HORIZON" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE FRIENDS OF ARIZONA PBS, MEMBERS OF YOUR PBS STATION. THANK YOU.

TED SIMONS: GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO "ARIZONA HORIZON." I'M TED SIMONS. WE ARE ON THE NINTH FLOOR OF THE EXECUTIVE TOWER OF THE STATE CAPITOL FOR A CONVERSTION WITH ARIZONA GOVERNOR DOUG DUCEY WHO DELIEVERED HIS STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS EARLIER THIS WEEK. WE WELCOME GOVENOR DUCEY TO ARIZONA HORIZON. GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN.

DOUG DUCEY: GOOD TO SEE YOU TED, GOOD TO BE HERE. THANKS FOR COMING UP.

TED SIMONS: YOU BETCHA! LET’S STATE WITH YOUR STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS. YOU BEGAN BY RECOGNIZING, CELEBRATING WOMEN, WOMEN LAWMAKERS IN PARTICULAR. WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BEGIN YOUR SPEECH IN THAT FASHION?

DOUG DUCEY: WELL, WE HAD A STATISTIC THAT HAPPENED THIS LAST YEAR WHERE ARIZONA ACHEIEVED A LEVEL OF PERCENTAGE LEGISLATORS, IN OUR STATE LEGISLATOR OF MORE WOMEN THAN ANY OTHER STATE IN THE COUNTRY. WE THOUGHT AS A TEAM THAT COMBINED WITH THE FACT THAT ARIZONA HAS HAD MORE WOMEN GOVERNORS THAN ANY OTHER STATE IN THE NATION, THE FIRST SUPREME COURT JUSTICE, THE FIRST STATE TO ELECT WOMEN TO ALL FIVE ELECTED EXECUTIVE POSITIONS. MOST PEOPLE PROBABLY WOULDN'T THINK THAT ABOUT THE STATE OF ARIZONA. HERE WE THINK THAT THE BEST RISE TO THE TOP- WE WANTED TO RECONGIZE THAT.

TED SIMONS: THE REASON I BRING THAT UP IS BECAUSE THAT WAS AN INTERESTING WAY TO START THE SPEECH, ESPECIALLY WITH SEXUAL HARASSMENT CONCERNS GOING ON AT THE LEGISLATURE. DID THAT PLAY A PART?

DOUG DUCEY: OH FOR SURE THAT PLAYED A PART. WE WANTED TO LEAD EITHER WAY WITH THE FACT THAT ARIZONA HAD HIT THESE HOSTORIC MILESTONES. BUT WHEN YOU LOOK AT PEOPLE LIKE GOVERNOR ROSE MOFFORD WHO SERVED IN THIS OFFICE AND SANDRA DAY O'CONNER WHO SERVED ON THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT, THEY DIDN'T BREAK DOWN THESE BARRIERS FOR WOMEN IN 2018 TO BE TREATED WITH HARASSMENT OR DISCRIMINATION OR MISOGYNY. IF ANYTHING ARIZONA SHOULD BE SETTING THE STANDARD. IT SHOULD BE THE MODEL EXAMPLE STATE FOR OPPORTUNITY. WE THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD PLACE TO MAKE THAT STATEMENT.

TED SIMONS: EDUCATION WASN'T MENTIONED IN THE SPEECH UNTIL OTHER THINGS WERE, EVERYTHING FROM WRONG WAY DRIVING TO THE OPIOID CRISIS, SECOND AMENDMENT, AND THESE SORTS OF THINGS. EDUCATION A LITTLE BIT DOWN THE LIST. WHAT WAS THE THINKING THERE?

DOUG DUCEY: EDUCATION IS PART OF THE HIGHLIGHT OR CLIMAX OF THE SPEECH IN TERMS OF WHAT WE WANTED TO DO AND POINT OUT. WE ALSO HAD TO ADDRESS OPIOIDS. I MEAN WE HAVE AN EPIDEMIC IN OUR STATE. I'M GOING TO BE CALLING FOR A SPECIAL SESSION. WE’VE LOST 800 ARIZONANS TO THIS EPIDEMIC OVER THE LAST YEAR. I WANTED TO LEAD WITH THAT BECAUSE I THINK IT TAKES CARE AND URGENCY AND ITS GOING TO REQURE SOME PARTNERSHIP AND LEGISLATIVE SUPPORT AND LEADERSHIP, BOTH REPUBLIC AND DEMOCRAT, AND ITS URGENT.

TED SIMONS: I WANT TO GET A LITTLE IN THE OPOID CRISIS IN A SECOND, BUT LET’S GET TO EDUCATION BECAUSE THAT IS SUCH A MAJOR ISSUE.

DOUG DUCEY: WITHOUT A DOUBT.

TED SIMONS: NO PARTICULARS IN THE SPEECH AND YET THE DAY AFTER THE SPEECH, WE COME OUT WITH THE IDEA OF RESTORING PRERECESSION CUTS. WHAT IS THAT MEAN?

DOUG DUCEY: FIRST I WANT TO CHALLENGE THIS MANTRA OF NO SPECIFICS. $1.7 BILLION DOLLARS IN ADDITIONAL STATE MONEY OVER THE LAST THREE YEARS PER STUDENT SPENDING UP 10% SINCE 2015, AND TEACHER SALARIES UP 9% SINCE 2015, WITH THE ADDITIONAL DOLLARS PUT IN THERE. WE HAVE A RECORD OF ACHIEVEMENT OVER THE LAST THREE YEARS, BUT WE DID SAY MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE. IN TERMS OF WHAT HAPPENED THE NEXT DAY, THAT WAS BASICALLY STEP ONE TO WHAT WE HOPE IS A SETTLEMENT SO THAT WE CAN PROVIDE ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE BACK TO K-12 EDUCATION. WE HAD 50 LEADERS FROM SUPERINTENDENTS TO DISTRICTS ACROSS THE STATE BEHIND US THE DAY AFTER THE STATE OF THE STATE TALKING ABOUT THE RESTORATION OF CUTS THAT HAPPENED AT THE TIME OF THE RECESSION. THIS WILL BRING A HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS IN ADDITIONAL MONEY TO K-12 THIS YEAR AND RESULT IN $371 MILLION ADDITIONAL DOLLARS OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS.

TED SIMONS: AND THIS AGAIN IS FOR-IS THIS SOFT CAPITAL? WHERE DOES THE MONEY EXACTLY GO?

DOUG DUCEY: THIS IS PERMANENT AND FLEXIBLE DOLLARS. IT’S FOR CAPITAL, BUT IT CAN ALSO BE USED FOR TEACHER SALARIES. DEPENDING ON WHERE YOU ARE IN THE STATE, WHAT THE NEEDS ARE IN THE DISTRICT, WERE GOINGT TO LEAVE THAT TO THE SUPERINTENDENT AND SCHOOL BOARDS.

TED SIMONS: SO IT’LL BE DISTRIBUTED TO SUPERINTENDENTS AND SCHOOL BOARDS. THEY DISTRIBUTE IT FROM THERE?

DOUG DUCEY: THEY'LL TAKE IT FROM THERE AND IT WILL GO ACROSS THE STATE EQUALLY IN TERMS OF THERE’S NO CHANGES TO THE FORMULA.

TED SIMONS: IS THIS A PLAN- IVE HEARD YOU USE THE WORD SETTLE- IS THIS AN IDEA TO SETTLE THAT LAWSUIT?

DOUG DUCEY: THE GOAL WOULD BE TO SETTLE THE LAWSUIT, OF COURSE. WHENEVER YOU ARE IN A DISPUTE LIKE THIS, WHAT SETTLES IT IS COMING TO THE TABLE WITH SOLUTIONS. WE HAD 50 LEADERS STANDING BEHIND ME YESTERDAY. I HAVE CONFIDENCE WITH THE HELP OF JD MESNARD, THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE AND STEVE YARBORO PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, AND WORKING THROUGH THE LEGISLATIVE LEADERSHIP WITH REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS THAT WE CAN SETTLE THIS. THAT WOULD BE THE OBJECTIVE.

TED SIMONS: AS FAR AS 100 MILLION DOLLARS IN THIS PERMANENT FUNDING- INCREASING TO 371 I THINK SOMEWHERE 5 YEARS DOWN THE LIN-

DOUG DUCEY: YES.

TED SIMONS: WHERE DOES THE MONEY COME FROM?

DOUG DUCEY: WELL, IT COMES FROM GROWTH IN OUR ECONOMY. IT COMES FROM GROWTH IN OUR TAX BASE. ITS GOING TO COME FROM OUR GENERAL FUND. OUR STATE IS GROWING. WE ARE HEADED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. PEOPLE ARE MOVING TO OUR STATE. MARICOPA COUNTY IS THE FASTEST MOVING COUNTY IN THE COUNTRY. SO JUST THINK HOW FAR WE’VE COME. ONE BILLION DOLLARS DEFICIT THREE YEARS AGO TO TODAY WHERE WE’RE RESTORING A HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS, WE’RE DEBATING AND DISUSSING ADDITIONAL DOLLARS AND WHERE TO SPEND THEM. 80% OF MY BUDGET PRIORITIES ARE GOING TO GO TO K-12 EDUCATION.


TED SIMONS: AND YET THERE ARE THOSE THAT SAY THERE SIMPLY ISN'T ENOUGH MONEY IN THE GENERAL FUND IN TERMS OF GROWTH. MONEY IS THERE. GROWTH IS HAPPENING. WE ALL UNDERSTAND THAT. BUT THERE ARE CRITICS THAT SAY, NOT ENOUGH. MORE REVENUE NEEDS TO BE FOUND. YOU CAN'T FIND IT IN THE COUCH CUSHIONS. HOW DO YOU RESPOND?

DOUG DUCEY: A HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS ISN'T FOUND IN COUCH CUSHIONS. I WANT TO SEE THAT COUCH IF THAT'S WHERE YOU FIND THOSE DOLLARS. 371 DOLLARS OVER FIVE YEARS, 1.7 OVER THE LAST THREE YEARS, AN INCREASE IN PER PUPIL SPENDING LIKE I SAID 10%, THESE ARE REAL DOLLARS. IT'S ABOUT DOLLARS AND ITS ABOUT OUR BUDGET, YES, BUT ALSO ABOUT OUTCOMES AND RESULTS. WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THESE DOLLARS ARE GOING TO THE PROPER PLACES. THAT THEIR GETTING TO TEACHER SALARIES AND THAT OUR KIDS ARE IMPROVING. AND I THINK THAT THE FACT THAT WE’VE SEEN THAT FOUR OF THE TOP FIVE PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOLS IN AMERICA ARE IN THE STATE OF ARIZONA, WE HAVE THREE OF THE TOP DISTRICTS IN THE COUNTRY FOR ACADEMIC GAIN. YOU KNOW ARIZONA KIDS ARE IMPROVING FASTER IN READING AND MATH THAN ANY OTHER KIDS IN THE COUNTRY. SO THE IDEA IS WE WANT TO UND WHAT WORKS. WE ARE ADDING ADDITIONAL DOLLARS AND WE’RE GOING TO FURTHER IMPROVE OUR PUBLIC K-12 SYSTEM.

TED SIMONS: YOU’RE SAYING GROWTH IN THE ECONOMY WILL HELP PAY FOR ALL OF THESE INCREASES THAT PEOPLE SAY NEED TO BE FOUND FOR EDUCATION. I MEAN-

DOUG DUCEY: GROWTH IN THE ECONOMY IS PAYING FOR THESE DOLLARS THAT ARE GOING TO K-12 EDUCATION. WE ARE NOT BORROWING THESE FUNDS, WE’RE NOT LIKE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PRINTING THESE FUNDS. THESE FUNDS ARE COMING INTO OUR GENERAL FUND BECASUAE WE HAVE GROWTH IN OUR ECONOMY, GROWTH IN OUR WAGES AND GROWTH IN OUR POPULATION. WE ARE PUTTING THEM WHERE THEY ARE MOST NEEDED AND MOST IMPORTANT AND CAN MAKE THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE. THAT'S OUR TEACHERS AND KIDS.

TED SIMONS: AND THERE ARE SOME WHO SAY WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW MUCH MONEY $1.7 BILLION AND THE INCREASE AS FAR AS THE PAST THREE YEARS ARE CONCERNED, THERE ARE THOSE WHO SAY THAT’S GREAT, THAT WAS MONEY THAT WAS TAKEN OUT OF THE SCHOOLS, YOU’RE JUST PAYING BACK INTO IT. IT'S NOT REALLY NEW MONEY. RESSPOND PLEASE.

TED SIMONS: YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT THINGS THAT HAPPENED BEFORE I THOUGHT OF RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR. WHAT I'LL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR IS WHAT’S HAPPENED OVER THE LAST THREE YEARS. THIS IS A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN TERMS OF DOLLARS. WE ARE GETTING THEM TO CLASSROOMS. AND I’VE SAID, MORE IS NEEDED. WE CAN NEVER DO ENOUGH FOR OUR KIDS AND TEACHERS, BUT THIS IS GOING TO BETHE PLAN FOR NEXT YEAR.

TED SIMONS: IS A TAX HIKE SOMETHING THAT NEEDS TO BE CONSIDERED?

DOUG DUCEY: WE DON'T NEED TO RAISE TAXES IN THE STATE OF ARIZONA. WHEN PEOPLE SAY WANT TO RAISE TAXES, WHAT THEY ARE SAYING OR WHAT I HEAR THEM SAYING IS WE NEED MORE MONEY. YOU’RE GOING TO SEE MY BUDGET RELEASE ON FRIDAY BUT WE ALSO SHOWED YOU A SNEAK PEEK OF A HUNDRED MILLION ADDITIONAL DOLLARS OVER AND ABOVE INFLATION ROLLED THAT WAS ROLLED OUT YESTERDAY. DON'T TAKE IT FROM ME. I MEAN WHO KNOWS BEST ABOUT WHAT IS NEEDED INSIDE THE SCHOOLS THEN OUR SCHOOL LEADERS, SUPERINTENDENTS AND PRINCIPALS. WE HAD THEM FROM 50 DIFFERENT DISTRICTS STANDING BEHIND ME YESTERDAY SAYING WE SUPPORT THIS PLAN.

TED SIMONS: AND YET THERE ARE THOSE WHO SAY JUST TO GET TEACHER SALARIES TO THE MEDIAN, YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO INFUSE 800 TO $900 MILLION DOLLARS. AND IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO DO THAT, GENERAL FUNDS, IT’S A BIG OLD COUCH-FINDING STUFF IN THE COUCH, STILL THE IDEA THAT THE MONEY IS THERE THROUGH GROWTH. THROUGH GENERAL FUNDS. THAT’S NOT REALISTIC.

DOUG DUCEY: WELL, WE’VE PROVEN OUT OVER THE LAST THREE YEARS THAT WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO BRING SIGNIFICANT DOLLARS. THE PASSAGE OF PROP 123 CONSTITUTIONALLY GUARANTEES $3.5 BILLION ADDITIONAL DOLLARS OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS AND LIKE I SAID SINCE 2015, $1.7 BILLION DOLLARS. THESE ARE SIGNIFICANT FUNDS. WE'LL EVALUATE THE BUDGET YEAR BY YEAR AND LINE BY LINE. THIS YEAR WE’RE BRINGING HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF NEW DOLLARS INTO K-12 EDUCATION AVAILABLE FOR TEACHER SALARIES.

TED SIMONS: WHEN YOU HEAR THAT SCHOOLS TODAY STILL RECEIVE LESS PER PUPIL THAN THEY DID IN 2008 WHEN ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

DOUG DUCEY: WELL, I THINK WE NEED TO DO MORE. THAT'S WHY OUR BUDGET IS SO FOCUSED ON K-12 EDUCATION. THAT’S WHY THE LION SHARE, ANY PERCENT OF THE BUDGET PRIORITIES ARE GOING TO K-12 EDUCATION AND TEACHERS. SO WE’RE ADDRESSING THIS WITH MORE FUNDING. WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING THE ONLY ANSWER IS A TAX INCREASE. WHAT I’M SAYING IS THAT THE LEVEL OF SPENDING IS NOT THE ONLY MEASURE OF SUCCESS. THE MEASURE OF SUCCESS SHOULD BE WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE CLASSROOM IN TERMS OF RESULTS AND OUTCOMES. OUR TEACHERS ARE GETTING THE JOB DONE. I WANT TO GET MORE DOLLARS TO THEM.

TED SIMONS: PROP 301, THAT’S COMING UP FOR EXPIRATION HERE-WHAT DO YOU THINK OF PROP 301? WHAT DO YOU THINK OF EXTENDING THAT SALES TAX FOR EDUCATION?

DOUG DUCEY: PROP 301 HAS BEEN A FUNDING MECHANISM THAT OUR STATE HAS ENJOYED NOW FOR 20 YEARS. I THINK IT'S VERY IMPORTANT AND I THINK IT SHOULD BE CONTINUED. WHAT'S MOST IMPORTANT ABOUT PROP 301 IS THE POLICY AROUND IT. I THINK THIS IS A GENERATIONAL OPPORTUNITY TO IMPROVE K-12 EDUCATION, TO HAVE BETTER POLICY AND TO BRING MORE DOLLARS FOR OUR STUDENTS AND OUR TEACHERS. THAT'S WHAT WE ARE GOING TO BE DOING AS WE BUILD A BROAD COALITION OF EDUCATION CHAMPIONS, BUSINESS LEADERS, INFLUENCERS AND DECISION MAKERS FROM ACROSS THE STATE MUCH LIKE WE DID WITH PROP 123 TO GET PROP 301 PASSED.

TED SIMONS: OK, PROP 301 PASSED AS IS OR DO YOU ADD TO IT? DO YOU THINK IT SHOULD IT GO TO A CENT OR EVEN HIGHER?

DOUG DUCEY: WELL, FIRST LET’S BRING THESE PEOPLE AROUND THE TABLE. LETS BUILD THE COALITION. I WANT TO SEE MORE MONEY FOR K-12 EDUCATION. I WANT TO BE CLEAR ABOUT THAT, BUT IT'S GOING TO BE ABOUT THE POLICY AND HOW WE DO THIS AND HOW WE BRING THIS TO THE CLASSROOMS AND OUR TEACHERS. THE GOOD NEWS IS, WE HAVE SOME TIME HERE. IT DOESN'T EXPIRE UNTIL 2021. THIS IS CRITICAL. WHEN IT COMES TO THE BALLOT, THIS MUST PASS. PEOPLE TALK AS IF THIS IS A FOREGONE CONCLUSION. DON’T FORGET, PROP 123 WAS $3.5 BILLION OF ADDITIONAL DOLLARS WITHOUT RAISING TAXES AND PASSED BY A LITTLE BIT OVER 1%. IT'S IMPORTANT TO GET THIS RIGHT.

TED SIMONS: WITH THAT IN MIND, SHOULD IT BE ON THE BALLOT NOW? AS SOON AS POSSIBLE IN CASE IT FAILS THE FIRST TIME. YOU GET ONE MORE CHANCE TO TRY IT AGAIN IN 2021.

DOUG DUCEY: I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT WE GET THE POLICY RIGHT, AND WE HAVE TIME TO GET THE POLICY RIGHT. WHY WOULD WE RUSH THIS TO GET IT ON THE BALLOT WHEN IT'S NOT NECESSARY UNTIL 2020? SO WHAT I WANT TO DO IS TO TAKE THAT SAME COALITION THAT WAS STANDING BEHIND ME YESTERDAY, THE COALITION THAT PASSED PROPOSITION 123 AND BRING THE RIGHT POLICY TOGETHER SO WE’LL BRING MORE DOLLARS TO OUR KIDS AND TO OUR TEACHERS AND THAT WE MODERNIZE THIS. THIS WAS WRITTEN 20 YEARS AGO. THIS WAS WRITTEN IN A ROTARY PHONE ECONOMY. TODAY IT’S MUCH DIFFERENT. WE’VE GOTTHE INTERNET, BROADBAND, DIGITAL SOLUTIONS. THERE IS A LOT WE CAN DO HERE WITH PROP 301, 2.0 OR THE NEW MODERN PROP 301.

TED SIMONS: ALL RIGHT, SO IF THERE IS A PUSH TO GET IT ON THE BALLOT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, YOU WOULD SAY --

DOUG DUCEY: WELL, I WANT THE POLICY TO BE RIGHT, OK, AND THE GOVERNOR IS GOING TO LEAD ON THE POLICY. SO THAT'S WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN.
TED SIMONS: ALL RIGHT, REAL QUICKLY, CORPORATE TAX CUTS, WILL YOU CONSDIER RESCINDING THEM IN ORDER TO BETTER FUND EDUCATION?

DOUG DUCEY: COMPANIES ARE FLOCKING TO ARIZONA FROM SILICON VALLEY. THE "NEW YORK TIMES" PROFILED THE STATE OF ARIZONA. FRONT PAGE SUNDAY EDITION BUSINESS SECTION GIVING US PROPS CALLING IT ATTACK BOOM. TED WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME THEY HAD SOMETHING GOOD TO SAY ABOUT THE STATE OF ARIZONA. NOW WE ARE EVEN TAKING COMPANIES FROM TEXAS. ONE OF THE THINGS WHEN I TALK TO THESE CEO’S TO THESE BUSINESS OWNERS THAT THEY LOVE ABOUT OUR STATE IS OUR TAX ENVIRONMENT. WHY WOULD I GO AND HIKE TAXES ON THESE PEOPLE WHO BRINGING JOBS AND DOLLARS TO OUR ECONOMY THAT ARE TRANSLATING TO TEACHER RAISES BECAUSE PEOPLE WANT TO SEE A TAX INCREASE. IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE AND IT WOULD BE BAD FOR OUR ECONOMY.

TED SIMONS: ARE YOU SAYING RESCINDING COOPERATE TAX CUTS WOULD BE A TAX INCREASE?

DOUG DUCEY: IT WOULD BE RAISING TAXES.

TED SIMONS: WE TALK TO BUSINESS PEOPLE. WHAT THEY TELL US WHAT THEY ARE HEARING FROM PEOPLE THAT WANT TO MOVE HERE ARE HOW ARE YOUR SCHOOLS, MORE THAN HOW IS YOUR TAX CLIMATE? ARE THESE TWO DIFFERENT CONVERSATIONS?

DOUG DUCEY: TED I TALK TO A LOT OF BUSINESS PEOPLE MYSELF, I USE THE SUPERBOWL, THE COLLEGE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP, THE NCAA, THE FINAL FOUR, THE PHOENIX OPEN, SPRING TRAINING, NASCAR EVENTS -- I GO TO SILICON VALLEY. I GO TO NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. I GO ALL OVER THE COUNTRY TO PITCH BUSINESS PEOPLE. WHAT THEY KNOW ABOUT ARIZONA IS THAT WE HAVE EXCELLENT PUBLIC SCHOOLS. THERE ISN’T ANY BUSINESS PERSON THAT’S MOVING HERE OR BRING EMPLOYEES HERE THAT CAN'T FIND AN EXCELLENT EDUCATION FOR THEIR KIDS.WHAT THEIR CONCERNED ABOUT IS THAT A GOVERNOR IS GOING TO PULL THE RUG FROM UNDER THEIR FEET LIKE JERRY BROWN DOES IN CALIFORNIA. MY COMMITMENT TO THEM IS THAT, THAT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN IN THE STATE ARIZONA. THAT'S WHAT I HEAR IN THESE DISCUSSIONS.

TED SIMONS: OK AS FAR AS- MOVING FROM EDUCATION TO TAXES HERE. THE TUITON TAX CREDIT. THE SENATE PRESIDENT SAID IT'S TIME TO REIN THAT IN. IT’S CLOSE TO GETTING OUT OF CONTROL WITH ITS ESCALATORS AND CONTINUING BREAKS THERE. DO YOU THINK THE STO’S, THESE SCHOLARSHIPS, TIME TO REIN THEM IN?

DOUG DUCEY: I APPLAUD THE SENATE PRESIDENT FOR BRINGING UP THIS SUBJECT. I THINK ITS SOMETHING THAT IS WORTHY OF DISCUSSION. IT'S WHY I'M A BIG PROPONENT OF SUNSETS ON LAWS. BECAUSE I THINK OFTEN TIMES THERE ARE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES WITH WHAT HAPPENS IN LEGISLATION OR AT THE BALLOT. IF HE THINKS IT’S TIME TO LOOK AT THIS AND SEE IF THERE IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR REFORMS, I SUPPORT HIM.

TED SIMONS: OK. OPIOID CRISIS. WE TALKED ABOUT THAT EARLIER. I WANT TO GET BACK TO THAT. WE HAVE HEARD ABOUT THE OPIOID CRISIS FOR YEARS NOW. WHY IS THIS GOING ON? WHY IS THIS CONTINUING? WHY HASN'T THIS BEEN ADDRESSED AND SETTLED OR ATLEAST SOMEHOW TAKEN CARE OF BY NOW? WHY IS THIS STILL A CRISIS?

DOUG DUCEY: WE LOST 800 ARIZONANS ARE TO OPIOIDS LAST YEAR. WE HAD SOME GOOD FIRST STEPS ON THIS. LIMITING FIRST FILLS ON PRESCRIPTIONS. PROVIDING FOR THOSE WHO HAVE SUFFERED AN OVERDOSE. BUT THIS MUCH IS CLEAR, WE’RE GOING TO NEED A MORE AGGRESSIVE APPROACH ON THIS. I USED AN EXAMPLE, WE HAVE A SMALL RURAL COUNTY IN NORTHERN ARIZONA OF 200,000 PEOPLE. FOUR DOCTORS PRESCRIBED OVER 6,000,000 OPIOIDS OVER THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS. SOMETHING IS TERRIBLY WRONG HERE. WE BROUGHT TOGETHER PROFESSIONALS, HEALTHCARE, PUBLIC SAFETY, MEDICAL PEOPLE. THERE ARE SOME BAD ACTORS OUT THERE. MY COMMITMENT IS THAT WE HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE.

TED SIMONS: HOW DO YOU HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE? I THINK THERES BEEN ONE MANUFACTURER THAT’S BEEN AGGRESSIVELY PURSUED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT. WHAT CAN HAPPEN? WHAT IS GOING TO CHANGE?

DOUG DUCEY: WE HAVE A LIST OF POLICY PROPOSALS, AGGRESSIVE, SOME MIGHT BE CONTROVRSIAL. SOME PROBABLY NEED TO GO FURTHER. THIS IS WHY WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A SPECIAL SESSION. THIS IS SOMETHING WE NEED TO HANDLE IN LEGISLATION, ITS THE BEST WAY TO GO AFTER IT. THESE RULES AND REGULATIONS ARE THERE TO PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH AND PUBLIC SAFETY. SOMETHING IS MISSING. THESE PILLS ARE BEING OVERPRESCRIBED, THEY ARE BEING MISPRESCRIBED. SOME PEOPLE POINT AT THE MANUFACTURER, SOME PEOPLE POINT AT THE DOCTOR, SOME SAY IT’S DRUG DEALERS. 75% OF HEROIN ADDICTS STARTED OUT ON OPIOIDS. TED, WE HAVE SEEN THIS BEFORE IN OUR COUNTRY, THINGS LIKE CRACK COCAINE, THINGS LIKE METHAMPHETAMINES. THESE HAVE BEEN CRISISES THATA WERE STAMPED OUT WITH A SENSE OF URGENCY ONCE IT BECAME APPARENT. THIS IS A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT BECAUSE MUCH OF IT IS HAPPENING BEHIND A PHARMACY WINDOW. THE SAME FOCUS IS REQUIRED TO GET THIS DONE, SO I KNOW THAT WE CAN DO IT AND ARIZONA WANTS TO LEAD ON THIS.


TED SIMONS: THERE IS CONCERN IN THE MEDICAL PROFESSION THAT THE LAWMAKERS ARE GOING TO START TELLING DOCTORS HOW TO PRACTICE MEDICINE.

DOUG DUCEY: THAT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. THAT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. PEOPLE THAT HAVE CHRONIC PAIN ARE GOING TO HAVE ACCESS TO THESE MIRACLE DRUGS AND WE’RE ALWAYS GOING TO HAVE COMPASSION FOR PEOPLE THAT NEED ADDICTION TREATMENT. WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT ARE BAD ACTORS HERE THAT ARE DOING THE WRONG THING, HOOKING PEOPLE ON THIS DRUG, THEY’RE MAKING PROFIT AS A RESULT OF IT, AND IT CALLS FOR AN AGGRESSIVE PUBLIC POLICY POSTURE.

TED SIMONS: WATER, DROUGHT CONDITIONS IN ARIZONA. THEY CONTINUE. IS IT TIME TO LOOK AGAIN AT ARIZONA WATER LAWS?

DOUG DUCEY: WELL, THIS IS WHAT WE ARE GOING TO DO IN THIS SESSION. WE DIDN'T BECOME A LEADER NATIONALLY IN WATER MANAGEMENT BY ACCIDENT. IT TOOK A LOT OF HARD WORK. IT WAS THE RESULT OF OUR PREDECESSORS AND OUR STATE'S ABILITY TO HANDLE COMPLEX ISSUES. THE LAST TIME THIS WAS DEALT WITH WAS IN 1980, BRUCE BABBIT AND THE GROUND WATER MANAGEMENT ACT. THIS IS SOMETHING ARIZONA IS EXCELLENT AT. WE’RE THE BEST IN THE COUNTRY. WE LIVE IN THE FIFTH LARGEST METROPOLITAN AREA IN THE NATION AND WE’RE IN THE MIDDLE OF A DESERT. WE’RE NOT SHARING IN CALIFORNIA’S WATER CRISIS. BUT THIS HAS BEEN A RESULT OF PRO ACTIVE POLICY PROPOSALS AND THAT'S WHAT WE’RE GOING TO DO IN THIS LEGISLATION SESSION.

TED SIMONS: WE COULD BE SHARING IN CALIFORNIA’S AND NEVADA’S WATER CUT BACK. SHOULD LAKE MEADE GET TO A CERTAIN LEVEL. AND ALMOST EVERYONE YOU TALK TO IN THE BUSINESS OF WATER SAYS IT’S GOING TO GET THERE IF NOT THIS YEAR THEN NEXT YEAR AS FAR AS THAT LEVEL IS CONCERNED. AND THE AUTOMATIC CUTBACKS ARE CONCERNED. DO WE HAVE A DROUGHT CONTINGENCY PLAN IN ARIZONA THAT JIBES WITH OTHER CAP STATES? BECAUSE I KEEP HEARING A LOT OF FUSSING AND FIGHTING GOING ON BETWEEN CAP AND THE STATE. WHAT'S GOING ON THERE?

DOUG DUCEY: WE’VE PLANNED AHEAD IN ARIZONA. SO WE ARE IN A DIFFERENT POSITION THAN CALIFORNIA. WE ARE IN A DIFFERENT POSITION THAN NEVADA. OF COURSE WE HAVE PLANS TO DO THIS. THERE IS A LOT OF TALK ABOUT THIS FIGHTING. EVERYONE KNOWS THAT WHISKEY IS FOR DRINKING AND WATER IS FOR FIGHTING. WE THINK WE GOT A GOOD PLAN HERE GOING FORWARD. WE BROUGHT THE RIGHT PEOPLE AROUND THE TABLE. WE REPRESENTED NORTHERN CALIFORNIA-NORTHERN ARIZONA, SOUTHERN ARIZONA, THE DIFFERENT CONSTITUENCIES OF OUR STATE. WE'LL BE WORKING WITH THE LEGISLATURE SO THE STATE OF ARIZONA SPEAKS WITH ONE VOICE REGARDING WATER GOING FORWARD. IT'S IMPORTANT.

TED SIMONS: IS A DROUGHT CONTINGENCY PLAN- IS IT BEING FORMULATED OR READY TO GO?

DOUG DUCEY: WE HAVE A DROUGHT CONTINGENCY PLAN. WE’RE IN THE 17TH YEAR OF A DROUGHT AND EVERYONE IS WATERING THEIR LAWNS AND SWIMMING IN THEIR POOLS. NO ONE IS BETTER AT WATER IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA THAN ARIZONA. THE ONLY PLACE IN THE WORLD THAT’S BETTER THAN IS ISRAEL. WE WANT TO VISIT THEIR WATER TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE TO BRING THOSE EFFICIENCIES BACK TO THE STATE OF ARIZONA. WE’RE GOING TO DEAL WITH THIS IN LEGISLATION IN THIS SESSION.

TED SIMONS: OK, BUT I WANT TO MAKE SURE- I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED IN THE PAST. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT FUTURE CASES OF SHORTAGES OF LAKE MEADE.

DOUG DUCEY: THAT'S WHAT WE ARE PLANNING FOR.

TED SIMONS: DO YOU THINK LAWMAKERS UNDERSTAND THIS ISSUE TO THE POINT THEY CAN PLAN FOR IT?

DOUG DUCEY: THIS IS A COMPLEX ISSUE. WE ARE GOING TO LEAD OUT OF THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE. WE'RE GOING TO MAKE SURE THERE IS THE PROPER EDUCATION AND ADVOCACY AROUND IT. AND THEN WHAT’S MOST IMPORTANT IS THE POLICY THAT WE MOVE FORWARD AS.

TED SIMONS: AS FAR AS GROUND WATER PUMPING IN RURAL AREAS, THEY WANT 100 YEAR REQUIREMENT FOR DEVELOPERS FOR FUTURE WATER, I MEAN PEOPLE HAVE TALKED ABOUT A VARIETY OF THINGS.

DOUG DUCEY: AND I VETOED THE BILLS. I VETOED THOSE BILLS TWO YEARS AGO. WE ARE GOING TO DO WHAT'S RIGHT FOR OUR ENTIRE STATE REGARDING WATER. THE FOREMOST WATER POLICY EXPERTS IN THE NATION ARE RIGHT HERE IN ARIZONA. ONE BEING SENATOR JOHN KYLE WHO I’VE HAD A WONDERFUL RELATIONSHIP SINCE I ENTERED PUBLIC LIFE. HE STILL CONTINUES TO CONSULT AND ADVISE ME AND OUR TEAM ALONG WITH THE ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES ON GOOD WATER POLICY. HE IS GOING TO BE AT THE TABLE AS WELL. WE ARE IN GOOD HANDS. WE’RE STANDING ON THE SHOULDERS OF CARL HAYDEN, BRUCE BABBOT, JOHN ROADS AND JOHN KYLE’S HERE AS WELL.WE ARE GOING TO HAVE GOOD POLICY GOING FORWARD.


TED SIMONS: KIDS CARE, THE PLAN TO FUND THROUGH THE SPRING AND THEN WHAT?

DOUG DUCEY: WELL, CONGRESS NEEDS TO DO ITS JOB AND I’VE CALLED FOR THEM TO DO THEIR JOB. I HAVE CONFIDENCE ON THIS ONE THEY WILL. THERE WERE GOING TO BE HEALTHCARE CANCELLATION NOTICES THAT WERE SENT OUT AROUND CHRISTMASTIME. WE ACTED IN THE STATE OF ARIZONA TO SAVE THESE 24,000 PLUS LOW-INCOME CHILDREN FROM RECEIVING THOSE CANCELLATIONS. WE ARE ON SOLID FOOTING THROUGH THE SPRING AND WE'LL DEAL WITH THIS ISSUE AS WE UNDERSTAND BUDGET SITUATIOS IN WASHINGTON D.C.

TED SIMONS: $9.3 SOME ODD MILLION DOLLARS A MONTH. DO WE HAVE THE MONEY FOR-

DOUG DUCEY: WE HAVE THE MONEY.

TED SIMONS: IF THEY CONTINUE TO DODDLE BACK EAST?

DOUG DUCEY: WHERE WE ARE RIGHT NOW, WE HAVE A PLAN THROUGH THE SPRING. LETS SEE WHAT HAPPEENS. ILL SEE YOU BETWEEN NOW AND THEN.

TED SIMONS: ALL RIGHT, WE’VE TALKED ABOUT THE SPEECH AND HOW YOU BEGAN THE SPEECH. THERE SEEMED TO BE A THEME OF UNITY, TRYING TO GET TOGETHER, RESPECT FOR OTHER PEOPLE, THESE SORT OF THINGS. IT'S NO SECRET. IT'S A DIVIDED COUNTRY RIGHT NOW. PEOPLE ARE AT EACH OTHER'S THROATS IN A VARIETY OF WAYS. HOW DO YOU SEE THE POLITICAL CLIMATE AND HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF WORKING IN THAT CLIMATE AND GETTING THINGS DONE?

DOUG DUCEY: I'M NOT IN CONTROL OF WHAT HAPPENS NATIONALLY OR WHAT HAPPENS BACK IN WASHINGTON D.C. I AM IN CHARGE OF WHAT HAPPENS IN THE STATE OF ARIZONA. SO I WANTED TO SET A TONE THAT I WANT TO WORK TOGETHER. I WANT TO WORK ACROSS THE AISLE. I POINTED OUT THAT 90% OF THE LEGISLATION WE PASSED LAST YEAR WAS BI-PARTISAN. I THINK AS THE GOVERNOR, AS THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE STATE, YOU CAN SET THAT TONE. I'M GOING TO DO THAT. THAT'S THE WAY I'M GOING TO LEAD. THAT'S THE WAY I BEHAVED OVER THE LAST THREE YEARS. THAT'S WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT IN THIS NEXT YEAR.

TED SIMONS: YOU KNOW DEMOCRATS, WE HAD DEMOCRATS ALL LAST NIGHT AND THEY’LL SAY THAT 90% IS BECAUSE 90% OF THE BILLS ARE NOT CONTROVERSIAL AND THEIR NOT THAT IMPORTANT. AND A LOT OF TIMES-
DOUG DUCEY: THAT’S OK-

TED SIMONS: SOME OF THE IMPORTANT BILLS GET ONE DEMOCRATIC SENATOR AND THUS IT’S TOUTED AS BI-PARTISANSHIP. ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO EDUCATION, THERE’S SOME FOLKS THAT JUST SEE THE FUNDING ISSUE DIFFERENTLY THAN YOU. WILL VOICES BE HEARD AND WILL THEY BE CONSIDERED?

DOUG DUCEY: EVERY VOICE WILL BE HEARD. EVERY IDEA WILL BE CONSIDERED. WE HAVE A VERY INCLUSIVE CULTURE ON THE NINTH FLOOR. WHEN WE DEBATE LEGISLATION AND WHETHER IT SHOULD BE SIGNED OR VETOED, I WANT TO HEAR THE FOR ARGUMENT. I WANT TO HEAR THE AGAINST ARGUMENT. I WANT TO KNOW WHO THE ADVOCATES ARE. I WANT TO KNOW WHO IS MOST AGGRESSIVELY AGAINST, AND I WANT TO BEST UNDERSTAND IT SO THAT WE CAN HAVE THE BEST POLICY THAT SOLVES THE MOST PROBLEMS FOR ALL OF OUR PEOPLE IN THE STATE OF ARIZONA.

TED SIMONS: AND TRANSPARENCY AS FAR AS THE BUDGET ISSUE IS CONCERNED?

DOUG DUCEY: OH WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TRANSPARENCY. YOU’RE GOING TO SEE THE BUDGET IN FULL. EVERY DOLLAR ON FRIDAY.

TED SIMONS: I MEAN AS FAR AS NEGOTIATING FROM THEN ON THOUGH, AFTER IT’S RELEASED. AFTER YOUR BUDGET IS RELEASED-

DOUG DUCEY: WELL, I’M GOING TO RESPECT THE CHAMBERS. I’M GOING TO RESPECT LEGISLATIVE LEADERSHIP AND THAT PROCESS. WHAT I DO IS I SIGN OR VETO LAWS. AND OF COURSE YES WE ADVOCATE FOR WHAT WE WAN AND YOU’RE GOING TO SEE WHAT WE WANT OUT OF THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE ON FRIDAY.

TED SIMONS: ALL RIGHT GOVERNOR, GOOD TO SEE YOU.

DOUG DUCEY: GOOD TO SEE YOU.

TED SIMONS: THANKS FOR JOINING US.

DOUG DUCEY: THANKS. HAPPY NEW YEAR.

TED SIMONS: THANK YOU, YOU TOO. THAT IS IT FOR NOW. I'M TED SIMONS. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. YOU HAVE A GREAT EVENING.

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Governor Doug Ducey expands on points made Monday’s State of the State Address, including funding education, not raising taxes and correcting the opioid crisis.

Education funding

Ducey was criticized for lack of specificity when it came to improving the education system in the state. Of the 17 pages, his speech only included two pages on education which the governor calls the climax of his address. In an attempt to “challenge this mantra of no specifics,” Ducey cited the $1.7 billion additional state money allocated to education over the last three years, the ten percent raise in per-student spending since 2015 and the nine percent raise in teacher salary since 2015.

The nicknamed “education governor” stands by his promise that the state can fund schools without raising taxes. The focus on education this year will be to restore the cuts that took place during the recession, Ducey says. The funds are “permanent and flexible,” which means they can be used for capital or salaries, and will be distributed to superintendents who will then decide how to spend the dollars.

Although he didn’t mention it in his address, Ducey says he supports the continuation of Prop 201, a measure passed in 200o that raised the state sales tax in order to place more revenue into public education.  According to Ducey, the statute provides a “generational opportunity to improve K-through-12 education, to have better policy and to bring more dollars to our teachers and our students.”

“We don’t need to raise taxes.”

The governor credits the state’s current tax environment as one of the main reasons dozens of businesses are attracted to Arizona, which in turn bring both jobs to the state and money to the local economy. According to Ducey, it isn’t necessary to increase taxes when the tax environment is what draws people to the state.

Ducey also believes raising taxes will hurt education funding, not help it. “Growth in the economy is paying for these dollars that are going to K-through-12 education,” says Ducey.

Ducey agrees that the school system must be improved, but he says the current state of the system won’t dissuade businesspersons from moving their families to Arizona, whereas raising taxes could.

Stopping the opioid crisis

Last year saw 800 Arizonans die due to opioids, a problem the governor says needs to be dealt with immediatly. The governor plans to hold a special session on how to effectively attack the problem of opioids in Arizona. But the governor made clear that his goal is not for lawmakers to tell doctors how to care for their patients.

“We’re talking about bad actors who are hooking people on this drug and making a profit from it,” Ducey says.

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Doug Ducey: Governor of Arizona

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