Gov.-elect Doug Ducey will take office in January and immediately have to respond to a growing state budget crisis.
According to legislative budget staff, Arizona faces a possible $520 million budget shortfall this fiscal year and a $1 billion shortfall next fiscal year. State law requires the governor to present a budget proposal to the Legislature by Jan. 16.
During the campaign, Ducey was vague about how he would address the state's immediate budget problems, saying he would go over the budget "line by line" and repeatedly promising not to raise taxes. Ducey said Monday in an interview with The Republic that he has assembled a transition "budget study committee" so his administration will be able to hit the ground running after he is sworn in on Jan. 5.
The group includes John Arnold, Gov. Jan Brewer's Office of Strategic Planning and Budget director, and Michael Hunter, Brewer's director of policy and tax-reform adviser.
"There are some budget issues. So the specifics will come out of this exercise," Ducey said. "Rather than coming forward with just talking points, as if everything has changed because of Election Day, this is really the reason why I believe I was hired by the people: To be thoughtful and workmanlike about what's possible."
Ducey said he intends to personally work with the group, and the results of their efforts will be reflected in the Jan. 16 budget presentation.
In addition to Arnold and Hunter, the committee members are:
■ Jennifer Stielow, vice president of the Arizona Tax Research Association. She has been with the taxpayer lobbyist organization since 2000.
■ Tom Manos, Maricopa County manager. Manos served on Brewer's transition team and is also chairman of the Arizona State Retirement System board.
■ D.J. Cole, CEO of the community association management company CCMC. He was formerly chief financial officer of Ducey's former company, Cold Stone Creamery.
■ Alan Maguire, president and principal economist of the economic forecasting and public policy company the Maguire Company.
■ Norman Stout, a consultant who formerly was a partner with the venture-capital company True North Venture Partners.