by David Safier
The Republican budget is emerging like a toadstool grown in a dank cave under the watchful eye of a small group of secretive legislators. Soon they'll be holding it in the air and calling it a chanterelle.
I've read so many conflicting numbers about the education portion of the budget lately, from both sides, I don't know what's real and what's spin. What I do know is, it ain't pretty.
Rep. Nancy Young Wright has a good op ed this morning in the Star, which is both a stand-alone piece and an answer to Al Melvin's recent op ed. Young Wright is a past Amphi School Board member, so she brings a special passion to the topic of education. Here's some of Wright's column.
They and Gov. Jan Brewer already passed and signed one budget in January that cut $275 million from K-12 and universities, the largest single cut to education in state history.
The new proposed cut is three times that amount. Such a large cut to education would put the future of our students and our economy in jeopardy. These deep cuts send a negative message to the business world and to young, educated professionals and families who may be considering a move to Arizona.
Education is key to Arizona's economic recovery and stability so that our children can be competitive in the global economy.
One only has to look at the contrast between our spending on prisons, where we rank fourth in the nation per capita, and our schools, where we rank nearly last by any rational measures, to see a serious error in our priorities.
"The largest single cut to education in state history." Quite a statement.
Yesterday's Citizen didn't hold back in its editorial, blaming Republican legislators for their draconian budget cuts and Brewer for her lack of leadership.
It's a perfect illustration of how the majority of our legislators try to cling to conservative ideology – i.e., no new taxes – while ignoring the many consequences, from human suffering to setting our economy even further back than it has fallen.
Evidently this ill-conceived budget is the best they can produce after nearly four months in session. Given that failure of leadership, where is Gov. Jan Brewer?
Legislators and Brewer are ducking responsibility when Arizona needs them most.
We'll see what the next few days bring. I honestly don't know what we're going to see when the smoke clears and the Governor signs a budget.