UPDATE, 3/18: Brewer follows advice from me and House Dems by taking step in the right direction with azrecovery.gov
PHOENIX -- House Democrats are calling on Gov. Jan Brewer during 'Sunshine Week' to be open and transparent with the public regarding their federal stimulus money.
Brewer, who sent a letter dated March 5 to President Obama requesting federal stimulus funding, never made the letter public, despite House Democrats publicly urging Brewer to send the letter. The public first was able to view the letter today via The Arizona Guardian Web site (or email me if you want it).
“When will Arizonans know where, when and how the federal stimulus dollars are being used?” said Rep. David Lujan, D-Phoenix (District 15). “Arizona’s children and families are looking for leadership during this economic crisis — they don’t want to be left in the dark during these gloomy times.”
Arizona will receive about $4 billion in federal stimulus funding, most of which will first land on Brewer’s desk. But Brewer still has not said publicly where she will spend the funds. Arizona children and families desperately are waiting to see how these funds will affect them and their economic security.
For example, the state’s Children’s Rehabilitative Services, which provides health coverage to children with a chronic illness or disability, will lose funding on Friday, but could be re-funded by federal stimulus dollars. Children who use this program suffer from life-threatening illnesses such as Congenital Heart Anomalies, Cerebral Palsy, Cystic Fibrosis and Sickle Cell Anemia.
The federal stimulus package could streamline Arizona’s unemployment insurance and make it more efficient and helpful to Arizona’s middle-class families who recently have been laid off.
“Is the governor going to request simple, legislative action to qualify for the $132 million in stimulus money that can be used to bolster our own unemployment benefits when Arizonans need them the most?” said Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix (District 15).
Arizona hasn’t set up a Web site, chosen staff to articulate the federal stimulus funding for Arizona to the public or discussed any policy decisions as other states have to keep their citizens informed.
“Arizonans deserve to know where their tax dollars are being spent,” said Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 14). “Elected leaders always should be held accountable by the public, especially in a time of economic crisis."
"People are hurting in this bad economy, and appropriate clear and rapid use of Arizona's stimulus money is important," said Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson (District 29). "Right now there is a lack of leadership and communication from the governor's office, and that must change. The House Democrats and I continue to be ready and willing to work with everyone in pursuit of the common good."
- adapted from House Dems PIO.