PHOENIX, AZ (STL.News) – Arizona Governor Doug Ducey Thursday signed S.B. 1215, a bill to pay off $190 million in state debt as part of Arizona’s fiscally conservative, balanced budget. The elimination of this debt will produce an ongoing savings of $24 million annually through reduced debt payments and avoid over $50 million in interest costs.
The $190 million in debt reduction brings the total amount of State General Fund debt paid off since 2015 to $1 billion — and comes on top of major investments in education, health care, infrastructure and public safety as well as boosting Arizona’s Rainy Day Fund to a record-breaking $1 billion.
“With this budget, we’re not going on a spending spree. We’re learning from the mistakes of the past and paying down debt. Anyone sitting around the kitchen table managing a budget knows it’s the responsible thing to do,” said Governor Ducey. “With the ongoing savings from reducing debt, Arizona can focus on investing more dollars in the things that matter most like K-12 education, enhancing public safety and updating our state’s infrastructure. Thank you to Senator Livingston and legislative leadership for making this a priority in our budget.”
During the Great Recession, Arizona sold several state buildings to generate approximately $1.4 billion in one-time revenue through a sale/leaseback deal. With a booming economy, budget surplus and improved credit-worthiness, Arizona is able to pay down debt and lower interest costs. As a result, Governor Ducey was able to announce in his 2019 State of the State address that Arizona had reclaimed ownership of the State Capitol buildings, saving Arizona taxpayers over $100 million in reduced debt payments over the next 10 years.