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Ducey outlines priorities in State of State

Posted at 4:18 PM, Jan 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-12 07:27:11-05

PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey promised more education spending and tax cuts during his annual State of the State address on Monday afternoon.

Gov. Ducey announced an executive order to create a council on "sharing economy" as he calls for lowering taxes and easing business regulations.
Ducey channeled Barry Goldwater during his State of the State address Monday saying his aim is to lower taxes and repeal regulations that are a burden on small businesses.
The governor will appoint business leaders and advocates to the five-member "sharing economy" council to make policy recommendations, foster innovation and identify unnecessary regulations.  The "sharing economy" represents a business model that relies on shared resources such as ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft.
Ducey asked the Legislature to eliminate what he characterized as unnecessary job licenses citing talent agents as an example of a pointless license.
He also called on the City of Phoenix to ease restrictions on ride-hailing services so they may have full access to travelers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

FULL TEXT: Ducey State of the State Address

Gov. Ducey laid out a plan to improve Arizona water conservation efforts during his speech to the Legislature.

Ducey's administration said Monday that he has directed a team of water experts to identify the state's future needs, investigate long-term water sources and explore additional conservation opportunities.  He sought to clarify that what is often called the "Western Water Crisis," does not include Arizona, which has had a groundwater management plan in place for nearly 40 years.
Ducey is also asking the Arizona Department of Water Resources to use existing funds to hire new experts and put his plan into action.
Gov. Ducey is asking the Legislature to focus more state money on college preparation classes, especially in low income schools where such classes are rare.
Ducey said in a speech to the Legislature Monday that he also wants lawmakers to approve more money for the state's school building renewal fund and to use money in last year's school achievement district budget to allow charter and public schools to lower the cost of borrowing money to expand.
The governor faced pushback last year by proposing that privately owned charter schools be allowed to tap the state's credit to expand. But he's moving ahead with the plan.
He also plans to boost funding cut last year from technical high schools known as JTEDs. Those schools took a hit in last year's budget.
Details of the spending proposals weren't included in his speech.
Gov. Ducey wants to revamp the Arizona Commerce Authority and wrap in powers currently given to other economic development agencies so the state is speaking with one voice.
Ducey said in Monday's State of the State address that he wants the commerce authority to have a renewed focus on marketing and job promotion.
He says with Arizona's economy on the rebound it is time use the commerce authority more to tout the state's benefits.
The governor plans to wrap promotion efforts currently done by agencies like the State Office of Tourism and the Arizona-Mexico Commission into one agency.
Gov. Ducey wants to build on a pilot program in Pima County that puts parole violators into a community corrections plan instead of state prison by expanding it to Maricopa County.
The proposal could use part of a juvenile justice facility in north Phoenix to house parole violators at a much lower cost.
The goal is to change the trend of state prison population growth by getting violators into community treatment rather than sending them back to prison.
Ducey also called for making the state's controlled substances database mandatory. Currently, doctors aren't required to report prescriptions they write for opiate drugs and addicts can doctor-shop and get multiple prescriptions. That's led to addictions.
Ducey also says he's creating a team a team of substance abuse experts, recovering addicts and health care providers to find the best treatment and care options.
The governor also touted his plan for a state police border strike force. That plan was announced late last year but still lacks details.