Ducey calls budget, education highlights of first 100 days

Before boarding his “Opportunity Express” RV on Wednesday to celebrate his first 100 days in office, Gov. Doug Ducey said he has provided “100 productive days of promises kept.”

Ducey said that includes expanding school choice for tribal communities, improving education, having Apple agree to build a data command center in Mesa and wrapping up the legislative session sooner than usual.

“Of course our biggest accomplishment, and the hardest part of this job this past year, was passing the budget,” he said at an event outside the State Capitol.

Ducey also touted laws that he said will help businesses like Uber and Lyft thrive in Arizona and expand opportunities for microbreweries.

“Looking back on these past few months we have every reason to be optimistic,” he said.

Ducey said the Legislature was able to get done everything that he hoped it would.

“Although a lot of people talk about how quick the session was, I did think it was what we laid out in the State of the State and in the inauguration,” he said. “I feel good about the session; I think it was a good start.”

Senate President Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, who joined House Speaker David Gowan, R-Sierra Vista, at the event, said he disagrees with those who think the session was too short. He said he prefers this year’s to those that came before it.

“I think, ‘Yeah, I want to go back to 2009 where we were in session all year long.’ That was a great year wasn’t it?” he said sarcastically.

After the morning event at the Capitol, Ducey boarded the RV to make several stops highlighting his first 100 days and sign two bills. At the TechShop Chandler Innovation Center, he signed a measure allowing small businesses and startups to raise equity through a form of crowdfunding. At a Phoenix church, he signed legislation lowering property taxes on commercial space leased by churches.

Rep. Eric Meyer, D-Paradise Valley, the House minority leader, said he doesn’t share Ducey’s positive outlook on the past 100 days.

“When you look at what we did, we cut funding for education both at the K-12 and university level, we cut funding for health care, we took food away from the neediest kids in our state,” he said. “So there aren’t a lot of good things to talk about from my perspective.”

Meyer called the 81-day legislative session “disorganized and bad for the state,” leaving rushed lawmakers voting on bills they didn’t have enough time to understand.

“Just because we did something quickly, doesn’t mean we did it well,” he said.

Signed Wednesday:
HB 2591

● Sponsor: Jeff Weninger, R-Chandler
● Key Provision: Allows small businesses to sell equity in their companies in exchange for funding. The practice, also known as equity crowdfunding, was already legal at the federal level.

HB 2128

● Sponsor: Darin Mitchell, R-Litchfield Park
● Key Provision: Lowers property taxes on commercial space leased by churches.