Friday, April 18, 2008

Budget cuts environment, not abstain-only sex ed

Republicans in control of the Legislature have failed to act responsibly on the budget

PHOENIX -- After months of doing little to nothing, GOP legislative leadership finally sat down with Governor Napolitano and worked out a deal to address the $1.2 billion shortfall in the FY2008 budget, which ends at the end of June.

From the AZ Republic: 'Some legislators complained about the process for the budget agreement, which was conceived almost entirely in closed-door talks.

'Rather than being run through the typical committee vetting process, the budget deal was attached as an amendment to an existing bill and was subject to only cursory discussion by rank-and-file members in the House and Senate.

"There's no transparency," said Rep. Theresa Ulmer, a Yuma Democrat who argued that legislators had no opportunity to digest details of the budget plan before they were called to vote.'

As expected, some of the cuts are pretty deep. Arizona State Parks and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality got hit pretty hard.

Unwisely, ineffective abstinence-only sex education programs were protected, while dollars for clean air programs were swept away. A sure sign of wrong priorities.

There were no direct hits to the Heritage Fund, but there was a significant cut in the lottery, so it could be affected indirectly.

There is still no resolution on bonding for schools and it was not addressed in this budget. Now the Legislature and Governor have to figure out the very tough FY2009 budget.

- adapted from Sierra Club

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