Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) said Monday that he was instituting a state employee hiring freeze as part of his efforts to balance the state budget.

“Instead of demanding more revenue from the people, I suggest we demand more fiscal responsibility from our government,” Ducey said during the state of the state address at the State Capitol in Phoenix. The hiring freeze will, however, have “protections for vital areas like public safety and child safety,” he said.

Ducey also called for an “unbiased inspector general” to determine ways the state can save and shine a light on corruption, and for the legislature to tie the state income tax to inflation.

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“Every year, Arizona taxpayers are faced with the threat of a tax increase because we don’t tie our income tax to inflation,” he said. “The result is an automatic tax increase. Let’s end this by permanently indexing our income tax to inflation.”

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The reduction of bureaucracy was a prominent theme in Ducey’s address, and he asked state agencies to conduct reviews of unnecessary regulations and decrease the time needed to obtain permits and licenses.

“You’ll have my full attention when you send me any bill that has the purpose of advancing free enterprise and spreading opportunity,” he said. “I am frankly not impressed at all when I read that Arizona is still the 10th, or the 15th, or whatever best place in America for finding work or doing business. … Our goal in Arizona is to be the best place in America to work and do business.”

Ducey also announced his first executive order, the “Classrooms First Initiative,” which creates a team to investigate how to maximize dollars spent in classrooms. The group is to provide a report to the governor’s office by Dec. 1.

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