Ducey set to deliver his final state of the state address | Arizona Politics

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is set to deliver his eighth and final state of the state address Monday and he plans to focus on education, border security and water.

The Republican governor enters his final year in office with the state seeing a big budget surplus, a major turnaround from his first speech to a joint session of the state House and Senate in 2015 when he faced a $1 billion deficit.

Ducey would reveal little about his priorities during a brief interview on Friday, but he said he’s not slowing down as he nears the end of his term.

“This is going to be a swing for the fences session,” Ducey told The Associated Press. “It’s a big policy agenda.”

Ducey took office in 2015 with a pledge to cut taxes every year and get income taxes as close to zero as possible. He’s largely succeeded, culminating with his signing last year of a bill cutting taxes to 2.5% for everyone — a small cut for people with low incomes and a big boon for the wealthiest taxpayers.

That nearly $2 billion tax cut is on hold after critics collected enough signatures to give voters a chance to eliminate it later this year. To get around that, lawmakers are considering repealing it and replacing it with a new, potentially larger tax cut.

On top of taxes, the legislative session is likely to be dominated by a handful of topics including elections, education and water.

Majority Republican lawmakers who baselessly question the legitimacy of President Joe Biden’s presidency are eager to impose new rules and restrictions around voting, which Democrats fear will disenfranchise voters.

On education, Ducey has already said he wants to rein in the power of local school boards, and he’s spoken about the need to get children back on track after coronavirus school shutdowns. The school system also faces a major funding crisis due to a constitutional spending limit, which the state is projected to hit this spring.

With the state in a prolonged drought and a shortage of Colorado River water forcing cutbacks, Ducey is likely to unveil plans to try to address that issue. Lawmakers are also slated to consider spending big to shore up supplies, including potential new infrastructure.

Ducey’s speech is set for 2 p.m. He can’t seek reelection because of term limits.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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