Budget time

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.

On April 28, Republican lawmakers released a budget document that shows a massive cut of $800 million to our K-12 public schools and universities.

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.

[snip]

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.

The Legislature's draft spending proposal slashes education; health care for poor and disabled Arizonans; child protection; and other services to balance the budget without obvious tax increases or borrowing.

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?

[snip]

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.

0 responses to “Budget time

  1. Honestly, I don’t know that anyone is “happy” with Brewer. She seems to be trying to thread a needle of supporting her party while not supporting hugely unpopular budget cuts to education & public services. She’s not doing a very skillful job at it though.

    I don’t get the sense that she’s a far right idealogue, but her party has certainly shifted that way.

    Given her past speeches, she should be firmly against the budget that came out of approps. We’ll find out if she’s more public servant or party servant by what she does when the budget bill hits her desk.

  2. Looks like plenty of Democrats and some fraction of Republicans aren’t very happy with Jan Brewer. I wonder what the non-Republicans and non-Democrats of Arizona will think of the current Governor come November 2010…