Monday, February 11, 2013

House Democrats release budget today

House Democrats release budget today
Funding priorities include education, CPS, school safety, health care, job creation
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Arizona House Democrats released a responsible budget proposal today that is aligned with the priorities of Arizonans.
“Our budget invests in education, mental health care, school safety, Child Protective Services and job creation,” House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 24), said. “This budget helps to ensure the long-term economic security of our state by closing tax loopholes and putting money back into schools while protecting the ‘rainy-day fund.’ It is a common-sense budget that should appeal to Republicans.”
The House Democratic Budget includes:
  • $82 million for schools to cover the cost of inflation 
  • $61.5 million for the cost of implementing the Common Core education reform initiative
  • $57.2 million for school mental health and safety programs 
  • $23 million for programs for the seriously mentally ill 
  • $79.6 million for CPS staff and services including placement of children in foster care and family reunification programs
  • $15 million over the next two years for deferred maintenance projects in state parks, which will create jobs and promote tourism 
  • $2 million for ongoing, future maintenance needs in state parks
  • $276 million in savings over three years by expanding Medicaid, paid for with a provider assessment fee
“Democrats were able to pay for these items by closing tax loopholes and eliminating programs that drain resources from public schools,” Rep. Andrew Sherwood, D-Tempe (District 26), said. “This budget reflects the priorities of middle-class Arizona families and provides for a Medicaid expansion that will increase health care access, create thousands of jobs in the health care industry and save the state money.”
Rep. Stefanie Mach, D-Tucson (District 10), said she is pleased the Legislature already passed a bipartisan bill to increase CPS funding and to hire more staff but believes the agency still needs more resources.
“We know that the money and staff we got for CPS earlier this session will not solve the crisis the agency is facing,” Mach said. “This is why House Democrats have included nearly $80 million for CPS and related services. Protecting Arizona kids is a priority that is reflected in this budget.”
Rep. Lela Alston, D-Phoenix (District 24), added that reaching a bipartisan compromise on the budget this year should be possible.
“There is a lot of common ground between this budget and the governor’s proposal,” Alston said. “We hope that our Republican legislative colleagues will work with us to advance these shared priorities.”

The complete budget proposal is available below. 


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