Arizona Year in Review 2021
PHOENIX, AZ (STL.News) Achievement, Optimism and Strength: 2021 has been a year of smart policies and lasting achievements.
Under Governor Doug Ducey, the past year has proven Arizona to be unstoppable. Families and businesses will be able to keep more of their hard-earned money thanks to the largest tax cut in state history. Health officials have worked diligently to get any Arizona that wants it vaccinated. Much needed resources have been devoted to securing our border and supporting law enforcement heroes. Creative approaches to fighting forest fires and providing health care have been adopted. Businesses large and small have settled and grown in the state, driven by Arizona’s land of opportunity.
Arizona has not lost sight in 2021. During a year of extraordinary challenges, the Arizonans have kept their bearings and found strength in our fellow citizens. And that’s, in the end, why the past year has been such a success.
ECONOMIC DYNAMICS: Throughout 2021, Arizona continued to create an environment that fosters business growth and opportunity statewide. In July, Arizona passed a landmark tax reform that made Arizona the state with the lowest lump sum tax in the country. The largest tax cut in state history also protected small businesses from a 77.7% tax hike. The 2.5% flat tax saves every Arizona taxpayer money, regardless of income.
Arizona’s tax approach, combined with a responsible, non-government approach, has spurred unprecedented economic growth. This year Arizona has seen a wave of job announcements and economic growth. ElectraMeccanica inaugurated its first electric vehicle assembly plant in the United States which will create 500 jobs. KORE Power has announced that it will bring 3,000 jobs to Buckeye for its lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant. Arizona luxury electric vehicle maker Lucid Motors has opened its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Casa Grande, which will generate $ 32 billion in revenue and create 5,000 jobs. Intel has inaugurated two new semiconductor manufacturing facilities, a $ 20 billion investment that will create 3,000 new high-tech, high-paying jobs.
Arizona also opened new economies in 2021. Gov. Ducey signed a landmark Tribal Gaming Pact Amendment to modernize gaming in Arizona, marking a multi-year effort. The expanding industry provides millions of dollars in revenue for critical government needs. Officially, launched in September, the game employs thousands of Arizonans and generates millions in tax revenue that benefits areas such as K-12 education, conservation and treatment centers.
By further removing red tape and unnecessary hurdles for business, Gov. Ducey signed bipartisan legislation in May to allow Arizona residents to order take-out cocktails. The bipartisan bill followed the positive impact of take-out alcohol sales on businesses across the state during the pandemic.
NATIONAL TELEHEALTH PROJECT: Arizona has dramatically expanded telehealth, providing greater opportunities for accessible medical services. The country’s broadest telemedicine law, House Bill 2454, expanded access to telemedicine for patients, ensured that doctors received equal compensation from insurance companies for telemedicine services, and allowed out-of-state medical professionals to provide telemedicine in Arizona.
BORDER SECURITY: Arizona continued to prioritize public safety this year as border crossings rapidly increased. In April, Governor Ducey issued an emergency declaration and deployed the Arizona National Guard to the southern border to support local law enforcement efforts as the country saw an increase in arrests and migrant children. in federal custody. The National Guard’s border security mission was extended in August for another year.
On June 30, the Arizona legislature was passed and Governor Ducey signed the Fiscal Year 2022 budget, which included $ 25 million in government funding for the National Guard’s border mission and $ 30 million for assist law enforcement with border security operations, in addition to existing border funding. Strike force.
In July, Governor Ducey successfully pressured the Biden administration to maintain Title 42 border protections and called on Congress to protect Title 42 from future interference by Biden. In December, following calls to the Biden administration for a plan to resolve the border crisis and increase federal aid, Arizona took action, increasing and repositioning public safety resources. in the Yuma sector of the southern border.
Brigadier General Kerry L. Muehlenbeck, who Governor Ducey appointed in April Arizona adjutant general and director of the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, heads the state’s public safety assets. General Muehlenbeck is the first woman to hold this post.
DISTRIBUTION OF VACCINES: Arizona has also prioritized public health and safety, expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines and testing, especially for underserved communities. The state has administered 10.3 million doses to date, with 4.11 million Arizonas fully vaccinated.
Former Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr Cara Christ, who stepped down in August for another leadership role for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, was instrumental in the response from state to COVID-19. As the longest-serving director of ADHS, Dr Christ has implemented effective statewide testing and internationally recognized mass vaccination sites.
The success of Arizona’s mass vaccination sites has been identified as a national model. In March, Arizona administered the 500,000th dose of COVID-19 vaccination at State Farm Stadium, reaching 2.5 million doses statewide. The state’s vaccine response received an “A” grade from researchers at Harvard University’s Belfer Center. The recognition included categories of vaccines per capita and the time required to vaccinate eligible people.
To further support the people of Arizona, Governor Ducey has stepped up enforcement of vaccine mandates and ensured that people employed by a local government can use sick leave earned due to exposure to the disease. COVID-19. The action was in line with the Senate Bill 1824, which was signed by the governor in June.
WILD FIRE PROTECTION: Arizona has taken its proactive approach to helping small businesses and communities on the front lines of wildfires. Governor Ducey and the state legislature held a special session in June to invest $ 100 million to ensure communities in Arizona have the resources they need to deal with post-fire disasters such as flooding and reduce the risk of future forest fires. Under the legislation, the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management and the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reintegration have partnered to remove fire-prone vegetation. Additional funds have been allocated for fire suppression efforts, recovery efforts including post-fire flooding, economic assistance to internally displaced persons, and assistance to landowners with emergency infrastructure repairs. damaged by forest fires.
Arizona has also taken steps to continue to help small businesses recover from the economic consequences of extreme weather and the pandemic. Governor Ducey launched the first round of the Small Business Rehire and Work Retention Program to support local small businesses in August and opened a second round of funding in September.
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY: Looking to the future, Arizona has taken steps to open up new opportunities and create additional choices in education. In May, Governor Ducey signed a law allowing community colleges to offer four-year degrees, expanding opportunities for populations historically under-represented in higher education.
Continuing the state’s civic education, Governor Ducey signed a law in July to strengthen education about the Holocaust and other genocides in Arizona schools. The law requires Arizona’s youth to learn the lasting lessons of the Holocaust and the tragic consequences of religious and racial intolerance. House Bill 2241 requires all students in Arizona to receive education about the Holocaust and other genocides during their K-12 education at least twice between seventh and twelfth grades.
ELECTORAL INTEGRITY: Building on the state’s leadership in electoral integrity, Arizona has streamlined the way elections are conducted. Continuing to improve and refine electoral laws, the permanent early voting list has been renamed to the active early voting list (AEVL). With the AEVL, voters who actively vote by mail will continue to receive an early ballot. If a vote does not return at least one advance ballot in the four years, the voter will be notified and asked if they still wish to receive an advance ballot. Whether a voter chooses to stay on the EVL or not, they remain eligible to request an early poll or vote in person, ensuring that no voter is ever deprived of their right to vote.