Saturday, January 31, 2009

Reckless GOP rushes harmful one-sided AZ budget

Gov. Brewer and Republicans in the AZ legislature were out-of-touch with their chainsaw approach to the FY09 budget 'fix'.

PHOENIX -- House Republicans all voted recklessly early Saturday to ram through rushed budget bills in the middle of the night that make deep cuts to education, health care and state employees, all of which are unnecessary cuts that harm children, middle class families and Arizona's economy.

For the common good of the people, the House Democrats and I did everything we could by courageously fighting late in to the night, offering fair and humane solutions, and challenging and denouncing the unneeded Republican attack on Arizonans and our quality of life. The House Dems and I will continue to work to solve problems and help people during the next budget process for FY2010, which should start soon.

No Democrats supported the Republican leadership's bad budget bills, but every House Republican member sheepishly fell in line to vote to harm education, families and health care thorough the careless budget presented by their out-of-touch leadership.

“Thursday night at a public budget hearing, House Democrats heard from the people who will be affected by these cuts the most – students, parents, people with disabilities,” said Rep. David Lujan, House Democratic Leader. “Friday night and Saturday morning, we heard from our Republican colleagues loud and clear – they chose to vote against children and middle class families and those who stand to face the worst of burdens during the state’s economic crisis.”

House Democrats offered common sense and fiscally responsible amendments that would:
· Restore universities’ funding.
· Restore K-12 education funding.
· Include more funding available to Arizona from the Federal Economic Stimulus package, set to pass the U.S. Congress in the next couple of weeks.
· Use their own full $7 million House surplus to restore funding to greatly needed programs. statewide, such as to vaccinations for children and funding for a poison control center.

Every single House Republican present voted against all of the above Democratic amendments, including freshman GOP members like Frank Antenori of Tucson, who broke his repeated public promise to not support a budget that cuts K-12 education. Other Republican freshmen, including Vic Williams, from Tucson's northwest suburbs, voted for the harmful budget despite his lip-service to education.

In the Senate, GOP freshman Jonathan Paton of Tucson voted for the bad budget which is very harmful to the University of Arizona, Tucson and southern Arizona.

Only two Republicans, both in the Senate, had the courage to vote with Democrats against the bad budget, Sen. Carolyn Allen of Scottsdale and Jay Tibshraeny of Chandler. I thank them for standing up and doing the right thing.

In a stunning show of out-of-touch priorities, the vote on the bad budget was rushed in part so new Gov. Jan Brewer could sign it before fleeing town for the Super Bowl (at taxpayer expense?), and so Republicans could go to a Scottsdale country club to attend a pro golf tournament today and schmooze with corporate lobbyists.

Not only did Brewer push the legislature to rush the process so she could go to a football game, her only budget request was for $18M more in deeper cuts to already gutted state parks and air and water pollution prevention programs.

From the Arizona Republic, 1/31: 'Brewer, a Republican, offered suggestions... and (GOP) lawmakers complied, making cuts to environmental programs that drew alarm... Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson, said the cuts spell a decline in clean air and water throughout the state, and they come on top of already big cuts to the state Department of Environmental Quality.'

Brewer's environmental irresponsibility will harm public health as more children and other people get sick from pollution, harming learning and driving up health care costs. Brewer's hostility also threatens our state parks, risks our water quality and supply, and will worsen global warming pollution and related climate change, which are making Arizona hotter and drier, threatening the economy and future livability of our state.

The detailed vote information, showing which members voted for and against the individual amendments, can be found here. The roll call votes on the Schapira amendment (university cuts), Lujan amendment (K-12 education cuts) and Fleming amendment (sweep of House balance) are available at that link.

Review the final Senate and House votes on the Republicans' destructive, divisive budget.


J. Ernesto Ibarra said...

Has the Governor signed the bill?

DRP said...

Yes. GOP leaders who run the legislature's schedule rushed so she could sign off on the bad cuts before leaving for the Super Bowl Sat AM.