PHOENIX -- Arizona House Democrats today announced their full 2009 budget options that would ease deep cuts to education, children and middle-class families in Arizona.
"These practical budget solutions offer more palatable choices than cutting our state's major economic engines such as universities," said Assistant House Democratic Leader and House Appropriations Committee member Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix. "We can get through this economic crisis in a bipartisan way and ease deep cuts to education and universities, state agencies and state employee pay at a time when families are worried about economic security."
House Democratic Appropriations Committee members’ options close the FY2009 budget shortfall without raising taxes.
Their options address the state's deficit by making fewer cuts than the Chairmen's options, minimizing the burden on universities and K-12 education. House Democratic Appropriations Committee members’ budget options include:
· Reducing the budget shortfall by $850 million including DES, AHCCCS and RBHA payment deferrals, a University roll over, use of own House monies, increasing the vehicle license tax transfer and other fund transfers.
· Ensuring economic vitality to the state by reducing a proposed deep cut to the state's prosperous key to our future - universities and K-12 education.
· Increasing state employees' benefit contributions by a fraction in place of mass layoffs and significant pay reduction.
· Maintaining vital services such as KidsCare that are needed even more during an economic downturn.
"We're exploring all options to balance the budget in a responsible, bipartisan way to get out of this crisis, while protecting education and healthcare, to help Arizona's people and economy," said Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson. "I appreciate the tough work of our appropriations members, and all legislators careful consideration of every budget option, not just severe cuts."
- adapted from House Dems PIO