Wednesday, August 08, 2012

GOP leader selling politics at its worst

GOP leader selling politics at its worst
My Turn

State House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden, continues to try to sell his version of what House Democrats supported during the state's budget vote this year. He is selling politics at its worst.

This year, we developed a budget proposal that would have created jobs, improved education and restored funding to KidsCare.

Additionally, it would have put a stop to budget sweeps -- including the $50 million sweep of the mortgage-settlement fund. This money was supposed to help families devastated by the foreclosure crisis keep their homes. Instead, "tea party" Republicans raided that money for the general fund so they could use it to pay for things like a private, for-profit prison expansion.

Tobin's claims about Democratic opposition to funding of numerous programs are laughable. Our budget proposal provided more funding to schools, programs for the seriously mentally ill, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, tourism, job-training programs, the Department of Public Safety and other important programs. It left money in the bank so we could be prepared for uncertain economic times.

We voted against his budget because it didn't do enough to turn Arizona around.

If Tobin also wants to claim credit for the Arizona Commerce Authority, he can do so. This agency is signing million-dollar contracts with employees and handing out taxpayer dollars to special interests with no oversight. It's a runaway train that needs to be stopped, not applauded.

Tobin baits and switches by mentioning the ethics issues of two House Democrats. He fails to mention that one member immediately resigned. When the other didn't, I was the first to call for his resignation and the entire Democratic Caucus, led by Rep. Katie Hobbs, initiated the ethics investigation of our own member.

That's a far cry from the stonewalling and cover-up we saw from Republican leadership when former Sen. Scott Bundgaard, a Republican, got into ethical and legal trouble.

While Arizonans want leaders focused on creating jobs and cleaning up government, the tea-party Republicans instead killed bills aimed at ethics reform and debated protection from United Nations invasion forces, taxpayer handouts to the wealthy, a militia for the governor and denying women access to medical care.

That's the truth. Nothing Tobin says changes that.

Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, is the House minority leader.

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