Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Republicans eagerly voted to cut state parks in March budget

House Democrats expose GOP harmful sham parks plan, successfully kill it

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Democrats tonight exposed Republicans’ sham plan to “save state parks” when the GOP originally voted to eagerly close state parks in their massive budget cuts in March.

Republicans’ House Bill 2060 attempts to steal non-existent funding from Growing Smarter, a voter-approved initiative. That action is unconstitutional and undermines the will of Arizona voters.

“If Republicans cared so much about state parks, they wouldn’t have voted for a budget to close and defund them in the first place,” said House Democratic Leader David Lujan. “Besides, Republicans already robbed all the money from Growing Smarter anyway, so their entire bill is a sham.”

HB 2060 would have stolen $20 million from Growing Smarter, Prop 303, which conserves Arizona’s open spaces in or near urban areas. Voters approved the measure in 1997.

“After they chose to cut and close state parks in the first place, Republicans could have chosen to work with Democrats to fix their mistake in a way that was actually constitutional,” said Assistant House Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema. “But it seems that Republicans don’t like to play by the rules. This year alone they’ve passed multiple sham measures that don’t clear Arizona’s constitution, like cutting hundreds of thousands of people off of health care.”

No one values state parks more at the legislature or realistically has worked harder to keep state parks open than Democrats.

“Bottom line, if Republicans actually cared about Arizonans and their state parks, why did they choose to cut it in the first place, then try to undermine the will of Arizona voters?” said House Democratic Whip Chad Campbell. “They just tried tonight to push Arizona down the wrong track again with their sham unconstitutional bill. Nice try, Republicans, but Democrats were the ones who voted against Republicans’ massive cuts to state parks in this year’s budget. Republicans unanimously voted for those cuts.”

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