Friday, January 16, 2009

Gov's budget offers some solutions, say AZ Reps.

AZ education funding must be protected.

PHOENIX -- The budget options Gov. Janet Napolitano released today offer some smart solutions that will get our state’s economy back on track and move Arizona forward while protecting education, House Democrats like me said today.

“We will have to make serious and responsible cuts in order to balance our budget and emerge successfully from this economic crisis,” said Democratic Leader David Lujan. “Gov. Napolitano’s plan is a common-sense approach to these cuts, without raising taxes or devastating the educational infrastructure in Arizona and hurting the state’s long-term economic vitality.”

Arizona is dealing with one of the most daunting economic challenges the state has faced, and House Democrats will work in a bipartisan way to make fiscally responsible and common-sense cuts to the budget, while putting children and middle-class families first.

The Republican budget cut options total $1.5 billion out of the state’s education system over the next one and a half years. This is not an amount that our state’s education infrastructure can absorb without serious impacts on the quality of our education system.

"I have a daughter in public school, and I'm in the schools every week. I know kids, teachers and learning in Arizona would be hurt badly by the proposed cuts to education," said Representative Daniel Patterson of Tucson. "To protect our kids, future and economy, Arizona's education system must be guarded from draconian budget attacks."

In a disturbing show of out-of-touch priorities, the GOP options propose cutting only $22 million from the corrections department's fat budget, far less than cuts planned for other top state agencies. Even the ultra-conservative Goldwater Institute recommended at least $97 million in prison budget cuts.

“The Governor’s plan is a balanced plan that considers all options and makes cuts that will not only eliminate the deficit, but will keep Arizona on the path to a brighter future,” Lujan said. “As this process moves forward, Democrats look forward to working with Republican colleagues to develop a comprehensive, accountable and responsible budget plan.”

- adapted from House Dems PIO

RELATED: Repeal unwise tax credits and deductions, Rep. Chad Campbell, House Democratic Whip.

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