Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Tea Party legislators pass shortsighted, bait-and-switch budget today

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Today Tea Party lawmakers passed a bait-and-switch budget that finances tax loopholes by hoarding money and sweeping funds from vital programs. It is now on Gov. Jan Brewer’s desk.

“This budget is a wasted opportunity,” House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 14), said. “The Republicans’ priorities are all wrong. They swept $50 million from the Attorney General’s Mortgage Settlement Fund that should be used to help families trying to recover from the mortgage crisis. Instead, they are funding more private prisons.”

Campbell also said the budget lacks vision for the long-term, economic stability of the state.

“The budget won’t create jobs, it promises savings it can’t deliver and leaves essential programs without resources,” Campbell said. “It’s a bait-and-switch.”

Assistant Minority Leader Steve Farley, D-Tucson (District 28), said the Republican bait-and-switch budget hoards money instead of investing it in job creation and education. It promises savings but creates a nearly $150 million shortfall in fiscal year 2015.

“The Republicans should be investing the $450 million they are hoarding,” Farley said. “They should be supporting the policies proposed to create jobs in tourism, in Arizona State Parks and in the health industry.”

Rep. Lynne Pancrazi, D-Yuma (District 24), agreed that Republicans did not invest enough in job creation in their budget. She also said the Republican budget doesn’t adequately support the health care service industry, a major job creator in the state.

“I have real concerns about hospitals around the state, especially those in rural Arizona,” Pancrazi said. “By failing to support rate increases for all health care providers, this budget jeopardizes jobs and people’s health across the state. I can't support a budget that might shut down health care facilities.”

The Republican budget that passed does not restore funding for KidsCare, leaving thousands of Arizona children without health care coverage.

“It would have only taken $7 million to fully restore the KidsCare program and the Republicans decided to approve $60 million in tax loopholes instead,” House Minority Whip Anna Tovar, D-Tolleson (District 13), said. “If the governor signs this budget, Arizona will remain the only state in the country that does not fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program. This budget is shortsighted and lacks long-term vision.”

The budget passed without bipartisan support.

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