There was nothing transparent about the process that produced a state budget that cut $9 million from services for Arizona’s neediest children. The budget bills were developed in secret, closed-door meetings. They were debated in the middle of the night and passed on a weekend during the early morning hours. But maybe that is the only way to get support for a budget that aggressively targets programs that help some of the state’s most vulnerable people?
The Republican’s new budget jeopardizes the future and the safety of children and families. On top of shocking funding cuts to K-12 schools, universities and community colleges, the $9 million cut to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program will affect thousands of Arizonans. This is particularly egregious because 75 percent of the program’s participants are children. By forcing the state to place a one-year cap on TANF benefits, the Republicans are taking food from the mouths of children.
In addition to the $9 million TANF cut, Children’s Action Alliance’s analysis of the budget shows that the Republicans made a number of other cuts that will “leave more children in danger and will drive up neglect.”
Those cuts include:
- $2 million from the Department of Economic Security
- $11 million from the Department of Child Safety to address the growing case backlog.
- $3 million from youth treatment funds
- $4 million from child care vouchers for low-income, working families
These cuts will shrink a vital safety net when the state is lagging behind the rest of the country in recovering from the recession. Instead of prioritizing programs that help parents get back to work, prevent families from falling into crisis or investing in education, the Republicans have created a shortsighted budget that promotes corporate special interests above all else. These are not the priorities of the people of Arizona. Our children and our families deserve more.