STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Arizona House of Representatives Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden (District 1), recently started a twitter campaign filled with misinformation about what legislative Democrats supported during the budget vote earlier this year. House Democrats are debunking the disingenuous statements Tobin has made every day this month.
“The kind of misdirection that Mr. Tobin currently is engaging in is an example of Arizona politics at its worst,” House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 14), said. “He is distorting the truth and Arizonans will be able to see through that right away. Instead of spending his time manipulating the facts, maybe Mr. Tobin should be focused on finding ways to create jobs and improve education."
House Democrats developed and released a budget proposal long before Tea Party Republicans struck a deal for a bait-and-switch budget with Gov. Jan Brewer. The House Democratic Budget focused on creating jobs and improving education. It allocated:
• $43 million to replace federal money from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families fund that expired. The program provides resources and support for abused and neglected children.
• $39 million for the Department of Health Services programs for the seriously mentally ill. In 2010, the Republican-controlled legislature voted to eliminate nearly all services for the seriously mentally ill who did not qualify for Medicaid. Not only did Tea Party Republicans leave a vulnerable population without services, the funding cuts resulted in significant job loss in the mental health industry.
• $5 million to the University of Arizona Medical School in Phoenix. The facility is ready to open but needs money for staffing and other operations. The economic impact of the campus is estimated at $2.5 billion annually.
• $5 million for community college scholarships to help students acquire high-tech, industry-specific job training.
The House Democrats also made health care for children of working families and job creation top priorities in their proposed budget. The House Democratic budget included:
• $7 million to restore KidsCare to lift the freeze on the children’s health care program. Currently, Arizona is the only state in the nation that has not restored funding to this vital program.
• $7 million for capital improvement projects in state parks which would have improved infrastructure in state parks, created jobs and generated tourism.
• $5 million to promote tourism in Arizona. This would have created both jobs and revenue for the state.
• $26 million for the Local Transportation Assistance Fund for cities and towns to use for community-specific improvements. This would have helped city and town officials create jobs.
“House Democrats developed a realistic and responsible budget that created jobs, supported universities and community colleges, restored KidsCare and ended fund sweeps. That’s more than Tea Party Republicans did,” Campbell said. “House Democrats refused to support the budget deal between the Tea Party legislature and Gov. Jan Brewer because it killed jobs, expanded private prisons, stole money that was supposed to be used for homeowners hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis and created more taxpayer handouts for special interests and the wealthy.
"For Tobin to suggest that we rejected their irresponsible Tea Party budget for other reasons is insincere. He’s just trying to play politics," Campbell added. "That’s unfortunate because the people of Arizona deserve an accurate and factual debate, not more partisan rhetoric and political games.”