Thursday, January 29, 2009

House Dems offer relief, GOP votes to harm AZ

Speaker Kirk Adams (R-Mesa) and AZ Republicans prepare to severely cut education and other essential state programs.

PHOENIX -- Read the news release below from AZ House Democrats for an update on the AZ budget situation. The House will be back in session 10am Friday and likely vote on the FY09 budget tomorrow. I will be voting no.

House Democratic members of the Appropriations committee offered on Thursday several amendments that would alleviate the deep cuts Republican lawmakers proposed to education, health care and other programs important to children and middle class families in Arizona.

Democratic members of the House Appropriations Committee heard the Republicans’ budget bills, after fewer than six working hours notice, when Republicans emerged from secret meetings out of public view.

Still, Democratic members of the committee were able to offer amendments to the bills that would restore funding to universities, K-12 education, domestic violence shelters and health care, using guaranteed federal stimulus money to cover those cuts. All Republicans voted against amendments to restore education and university cuts.

One of Sinema’s amendments would opt to use the rest of the state House of Representatives’ surplus, $3 million, to offset a cut to domestic violence shelters for women and children.

All Republican members of the committee voted against using their own surplus to restore funding to victims of domestic violence.

More than 100 community members attended the hearing and signed in to oppose the budget bill; not one supported the Republican measure.

“Today, Republicans decided to ignore the $1 billion federal stimulus package that is in the mail to Arizona,” said Assistant Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema, a member of the Appropriations committee. “During secret meetings on Wednesday night, they developed a plan that makes drastic cuts to universities and K-12 education and opted to ignore the opportunities that the stimulus funds offer and instead harm children, middle-class families and the future economic vitality of our state.”

No comments: