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Ducey signs state budget, includes $50M for coronavirus response

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a $11.8 billion budget that includes $50 million to help with coronavirus response, his office announced in a press release.

That $50 million is for programs that have already been announced to help residents who need eviction assistance, small businesses that are struggling, food banks and homeless people, according to the release.

“This is not the budget we envisioned in January. But our world has changed,” Ducey wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.

“We are facing the realities of a public health emergency, and our priorities and our decisions have had to adjust accordingly.”

The bipartisan plan does not contain new spending beyond required inflation adjustments and pay raises that were promised for teachers with the 20 by 2020 plan.

The budget was finalized by majority Republicans and Democrats in the Senate last week.

Among large items in the budget is $175 million for the final installment teacher pay raises that will result in a 20% total increase.

Other items include $67 million for what Ducey’s office described as “flexible funding” for schools that can be used for needs including technology, textbooks and school personnel. There is an additional $90 million specifically for school repairs.

The budget includes $23 million for better access to child care for low-income working families and foster parents.

When the Legislature began its session in January, it expected a budget surprlus of almost $1 billion in addition to Arizona’s $1 billion rainy day fund, according to the Associated Press.

The budget adds to $55 million in emergency cash approved to fund the health department’s virus response efforts. That money would come from the state’s rainy day fund, according to AP.

“This is going to be more than a rainy day,” Ducey told KTAR News on Tuesday.

“We’re going to utilize every resource we have to protect Arizonans, to make sure we’re fighting this public health battle and then to make sure nobody falls through the cracks, and then as soon as its appropriate that we ramp that economy back up.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

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