Monday, June 13, 2011

House Democrats: ‘Shame on GOP for failing to fix jobless aid’

Minority party joins governor in calling for fix from GOP supermajorities

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Democrats are calling Republicans’ inaction on the jobless aid issue “irresponsible,” saying today is “strike three” if GOP lawmakers can’t get it together and do the right thing for Arizona.

“Shame on Republicans for holding unemployed Arizonans hostage while they play political games,” said House Minority Leader Chad Campbell. “They are not on your side and they are turning their backs on Arizonans who were laid off, unemployed and struggling to put food on the table. They could have fixed this back in April. They could have fixed this on Friday. Arizonans should consider today strike three.”

Republican lawmakers, who have supermajorities in both chambers, had opportunities to make a one-word change in state law so nearly 45,000 Arizonans can continue to receive jobless benefits while they search for work — House Democrats asked them to make the change in April during the regular session but they refused. And last week, Gov. Jan Brewer called a special session just to make the fix, but on Friday, the first day of the session, Republicans again refused, missing a deadline when attendance was high.

Even Brewer said this in a press release Friday: “…you don’t balance the federal budget by turning your back on Arizonans in their time of need. That’s not principled fiscal conservatism. It’s just cruel…get to work. The people of Arizona, your constituents, are counting on it.”

In April, 9.4 percent of Phoenix’s workers were unemployed. In Yuma County alone, the unemployment rate is three times higher. The fix would keep nearly $3.5 million a week flowing into the Arizona economy.
“This is absolutely outrageous that they can’t make a one-word change that virtually costs the state nothing,” said Assistant House Minority Leader Steve Farley. “If we don’t make use of our own tax dollars, another state will get them. It’s time to hold Republican lawmakers, who have total control of state government, accountable for their inaction on this. The governor, minority Democrats and Arizonans are all calling for this fix. This is the prime example of how Republicans just aren’t on your side.”

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