Arizona governor wants more money for health care, jobs

Arizona Gov.

Doug Ducey has proposed raising state funding for health and human services by a total of $4.2 billion, and he has proposed adding another $1.4 billion to cover an additional $3.8 billion for education and $1 billion for community colleges.

Duceys office released the numbers after a Senate committee voted Thursday to approve a bill that would give the state $4 billion in new spending to address its long-standing health care and human service challenges.

DCEy’s proposed $4,936 billion package includes funding for a $2.9 billion expansion of Medicaid and $900 million to pay for state health care workers’ benefits.

The governor also wants to increase spending for higher education and public safety and he proposed adding $200 million for mental health care.

The proposal is the latest push by Duceies office to raise taxes in the state, a trend that has seen the state raise taxes on the wealthy at a time when unemployment is at a record high and the economy is still growing at a modest pace.

The governor said in a statement Thursday that his plan would also provide $150 million for a program for veterans to transition into a new job.

The bill also includes a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which the governor has called “one of the most important steps we can take to get Arizona back to where we need to be.”