Gubernatorial Candidates Discuss How To Deal With Impending Budget Shortfall
The two gubernatorial candidates focused on education, the economy and the budget in Tuesday’s debate. This is the last debate before the November election.
The Joint Legislative Budget Committee estimates a budget shortfall of as much as $520 million next fiscal year if the legislature is ordered to pay the K-12 funding in full. Democratic candidate Fred DuVal said the state can’t afford to make any more spending cuts.
“The idea that we could, on top of these commitments that we have," DuVal said. "On top of deep cuts sustained by K-12 system and universities, the notion that we can meet our needs with what is now half on a per-individual/citizen basis. Half of resources we had 20 years ago. We have just taken this to a breaking point.”
DuVal said the government shouldn’t continue to cut but rather look at ways to grow revenue. Republican candidate Doug Ducey said he wants to consolidate government positions.
“I want to look at a restructuring and reorganization as to how to we do that." Ducey said. "It’s not about a bigger or smaller government, it’s about a more effective and efficient government that’s more accountable to the taxpayers for the dollars it spends."
Ducey plans to address the budget crisis one year at a time. Both candidates agreed the state needs to grow its economy. DuVal believes creating a desirable place for business investment means being inclusive to minorities. Ducey said keeping costs low and regulation to a minimum is what will bring businesses to Arizona. The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 4.