On the heels of the State of the State Address, the governor has released his FY 2018 executive budget plan. This budget clearly favors education, and it looks like it might also be a grand slam for technology.

Last Friday, Governor Ducey released his FY 2018 executive budget plan providing more details around his policy priorities outlined in the State of the State address. Education was the big winner, but technology also scored high.

To set the stage, the governor’s total budget amounts to $9.8 billion in spending – an increase over the $9.64 billion budget last year. It proposes a total of $176.7 million in new initiatives, more than half of which is marked for one-time spending. The new spending is well above the $24 million the legislature’s analysts predicted would be available, recently revised up to $46 million.

The largest chunk of new spending goes toward education – a top priority of Governor Ducey’s administration. The budget plan provides $114 million for 15 new initiatives in K-12 schools – including teacher raises, signing bonuses for low-income school instructors and an expansion of full-day kindergarten in low-income schools.

So it’s clear that education advocates may have batted a thousand in this proposal, but technology projects scored a few home runs too.

For those of you who read my last blog about Governor Ducey’s State of the State Address, then you know he remains committed to operating Arizona state government “at the speed of business.” To help fulfill that promise, the governor recommends that ADOA receive $56.4 million in FY 2018 for major technology modernization projects.

Here are some specific highlights from the governor’s budget:

  • Good news for broadband communication providers: The education initiatives also recommend $5 million to expand broadband access to Arizona’s rural school districts and charter schools to support digital learning and modern technology platforms. The state’s investment will be augmented with E-Rate funding that is set to expire in FY18.
  • The governor proposes that the Department of Revenue receives $10 million to modernize its data centers. To support the plan to move its systems to the cloud, the department must first upgrade its IT hardware at end of life and place its equipment in a private data center.
  • The Department of Environmental Quality would receive another $3.2 million to continue implementation of the MyDEQ online platform intended to reduce regulatory burdens on industry. This falls squarely in Governor Ducey’s aim to reduce regulations and streamline operations.
  • The governor recommends appropriating another $10.8 million for the replacement of the archaic child welfare data system, known as CHILDS. The planning for the replacement project was completed in FY 2016, and procurement for the platform and mobile solution are underway.
  • Cybersecurity receives almost twice the amount ADOA requested in FY 2017, coming in at a whopping $8.9 million. Make no mistake: The governor wants to better protect state agencies from cyber attacks by implementing cyber security controls and performing a cyber risk assessment.
  • ADOA received $6M to begin planning for the state HRIS system replacement.
  • Even the Arizona Lottery ($3.2 million for digital transformation), Department of Public Safety ($2.3 million for a new criminal justice information system & $2.5 million to upgrade the microwave backbone), and Industrial Commission ($1 million for a new claims processing system) were included in the governor’s budget proposal.

Now, it is up to the state legislature to see the value of these technology recommendations and bring it on home. Stay tuned to Traversant Group’s blog for updates throughout the legislative session. And, if you would like some help figuring out a budget strategy to support your project, just give us a call. This is what we do.

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