Monday, April 07, 2014

Republicans pass shortsighted budget that protects status quo instead of state’s priorities



Republicans pass shortsighted budget that protects status quo instead of state’s priorities

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Minority Whip Eric Meyer, D-Paradise Valley (District 28), who represented the House Democrats in the budget conference committees, released this statement about the budget Republicans passed in the Arizona House and which is scheduled for a vote in the Arizona Senate tonight.

“The budget Republicans passed today is a disappointment. It is shortsighted and fails to move the priorities of the state forward. The Republicans at the Legislature consistently make the wrong choices for the state and our children, and they continued this trend by prioritizing tax cuts and funding for special interests. All this budget does is protect the status quo.

“Earlier this year, Arizona House Democrats proposed a balanced budget that would have funded public K-12 schools and higher education. Our schools have had to deal with some of the deepest budget cuts in the nation. Their budgets have been slashed by $3 billion since 2008. Now that Arizona is working its way out of the economic recession, we must reinvest in education. That investment should also include higher education and help for students struggling to pay college tuition.

“The current budget bows to extremists by not funding Common Core implementation. These standards are in place to prepare our students for college and for the workforce. It also lacks adequate funding for universities, further jeopardizing our students’ ability to compete in the global economy.

“The Democrats’ proposal also included $193 million for child safety and health and human services. This money would have been used to restore preventative services, like the childcare subsidy, so that working families would have access to reliable, safe childcare. The funding would also have provided enough money to hire child welfare caseworkers to handle the growing caseloads in this state. Arizona has the second highest caseload growth in the country and we’ve seen the tragic results of underfunding this crucial safety net. This is not an issue that can wait until a special session.

“There were other options and other choices, but partisanship prevailed today. Our kids, our schools and our state deserve better.”

Democrats in the House and the Senate have submitted a minority report formally protesting this budget.



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