Monday, April 14, 2014

Republicans consistently push wrong priorities in the House

Republicans consistently push wrong priorities in the House

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – After passing a disappointing, shortsighted budget, House Republicans continue to ignore pressing issues, including child safety and public education, choosing instead to focus on matters that do not move the priorities of the state forward.

“The Republicans have made bad choices throughout this legislative session,” House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 24), said. “House Democrats had a plan that would keep Arizona’s budget balanced and would support public education so all our kids could have access to schools that would ensure they’re prepared for college and the workforce. The Republicans ignored this plan, choosing partisanship over the priorities of the people. They continue to claim that we do not have the resources to adequately fund public education. At the same time, they tried to get nearly a million additional dollars for private prisons this year. Think of what a school district could do with that money. Choices like this show that the Republicans here are out of touch.”

Assistant House Minority Leader Bruce Wheeler, D-Tucson (District 10), added that instead of trying to solve the child safety issues plaguing the state, Republicans wasted time on legislation like SB 1062.

“Our state is struggling to recover from a recession and, instead of promoting legislation that would create jobs and attract business to Arizona, the extremists at the Capitol put their energy into fast-tracking SB 1062, a discriminatory bill that took direct aim at the LGBTQ community and cities like Tucson, Phoenix and Flagstaff that have expanded civil rights protections,” Wheeler said. “Not only was this bill offensive, but it threatened our state’s economic stability. It was clear that this legislation was bad for business, and that was reinforced by a number of companies including Intel, Apple, JPMorgan Chase, GoDaddy and PetSmart that voiced opposition to SB 1062.

“Although the Republicans rushed SB 1062 through the process, they were not able to sneak it by the public, and it was vetoed. It does, however, serve as an indication of what is important to Republicans - their partisan agenda. They also just passed a budget that fails to provide funding to hire enough child welfare caseworkers. At the beginning of the session, the Republicans claimed that solving the CPS crisis was a priority. Around 6,000 reports of neglect and abuse went uninvestigated partially because there weren’t enough caseworkers after years of Republican budget cuts. But they passed a budget that did not include enough money to increase the number of caseworkers. We know the situation is dire now. We should not be waiting to find solutions in a special session later this year.”

House Minority Whip Eric Meyer, D-Paradise Valley (District 28), said the Republicans made choices that reflect their values.

“The state’s budget is the most direct indication of our values. The Republican budget shows that they value an ideological agenda above all else. They have prioritized funding for special interests over child safety and education. This is unacceptable, especially considering that Arizona has the second highest child welfare caseload growth in the country and our schools are still dealing with the $3 billion cut from their budgets since 2008.

“The Republicans had other options. There were real solutions on the table, but they made the wrong choice and opted for promoting partisanship over what would work for our state. The bottom line is that we should be demanding more for our children, our schools and our state.”


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