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Fighting words: Gov. Doug Ducey lashes out at California in Arizona address

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey presents his State of the State address, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, in Phoenix, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

PHOENIX — The Arizona State Capitol Building looked a little more like a boxing ring on Monday during Gov. Doug Ducey’s annual State of the State address.

Ducey took multiple shots at California during his speech.

His first comment came when he was discussing his desire to keep employment and wage laws consistent across the state, rather than creating a “patchwork” that would “drive our economy off a cliff.”

“Ninety-one cities and towns with 91 different employment laws, isn’t local control, it’s California-style chaos,” he said.

Shortly after, Ducey called on lawmakers remove complicated regulations from Arizona’s laws. By doing so, he said he hopes to encourage more business growth and increase competition. He also went for prospective businesses deciding between the two states.

“I want startups in the sharing economy to know: California may not want you, but Arizona does,” he said.

That was quickly followed by touching on the region’s water struggles. Arizona is no stranger to drought conditions and Ducey said officials are creating a plan to manage the state’s water needs, explore new avenues of conservation and “identify future infrastructure needs so we don’t end up like sorry California.”

When his speech turned back to luring businesses to his state, Ducey said Arizona is looking to “better address the needs of businesses fleeing California and other states on the decline.”

Ducey’s speech moved away from the Golden State for a short time, but came back for one last swing while he addressed his state’s higher education system.

“[Northern Arizona University] is now a magnet for students ditching California in search of a high-quality, affordable higher education alternative,” he said.

While it’s unknown, Ducey’s comments may possibly be in response to comments made by California Gov. Jerry Brown’s following last year’s terrorist attack in San Bernardino.

Brown told the Sacramento Bee at the time that weapons laws in states like Arizona and Nevada “are wide open” and a back door for terrorists.

Ducey released a statement in response, saying the comments from Brown were “incredibly thoughtless.”

“All of Arizona mourns for the victims in California,” Ducey wrote. “To politicize a tragedy of this magnitude and use it as an opportunity to attack our state is out of bounds. Not only will we be ignoring Gov. Brown’s advice, but I call on him to retract his incredibly thoughtless and ill-advised comments.”

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