Wednesday, March 11, 2009

First House vote today absent of economic relief

Arizonans looking for work at a job fair last month. Republicans' out-of-touch priorities are not helping the economy.

PHOENIX -- Arizona is facing one of the largest budget deficits in state history, but the first bills to reach the House floor for a vote this regular legislative session have nothing to do with state economic recovery.

Representatives will go to the floor today to debate two anti-choice bills, a tax credit bill for private schools, bills that deregulate businesses and a postcard to Congress, all introduced by Republicans, all wrong priorities for the state.

“While the Arizona’s fiscal crisis is looming, the House Republicans are spending taxpayer dollars on issues that won't help middle class families at all,” said Rep. David Lujan, House Democratic leader. “Arizona families have two top priorities – jobs and education – and those are the right priorities to get our state’s economy back on track and to move Arizona forward.”

With only 23 days left to request and use federal stimulus funding that would offset the state budget deficit, Gov. Jan Brewer immediately should request the funds allocated by President Obama and available to our state that specifically would create jobs and fund education, House Democrats say. If Brewer does not accept the funds, the legislature can act.

To receive federal stimulus funds, governors have 45 days to certify that they will first, "request and use" funds and second, use them to create jobs and promote economic growth. If a governor does not accept funds allocated to his or her state before that window expires, the state's legislature then has the option of certifying those two conditions itself.

“The people of our state haven’t seen this type of economic crisis in their lifetimes, and they are looking for answers,” Lujan said. “It’s our job to make sure we do that.”

- from House Dems PIO

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