Gov. Ducey steps on a rake with veterans funding


On Monday I read in the newspaper that Gov. Dicey Doug Ducey pitches redirecting $929,000 in veterans funds:

imagesGov. Doug Ducey wants to take more than $900,000 donated by taxpayers to help post-9/11 veterans and use it to operate new veterans cemeteries near Marana and Flagstaff and keep the doors open at an existing one in Sierra Vista.

Ted Vogt, the governor’s chief of operations, acknowledged the state promised the federal government, which paid $15 million to build all three facilities, it would find money to operate the new facilities.

Ducey’s proposed budget, submitted to lawmakers Friday, does that by shifting the $929,400 from the Military Family Relief Fund.

Jon Altmann, who lobbies on behalf of the Association of the U.S. Navy, said the money in that fund was solicited specifically to provide one-time help to those returning from the Middle East. That can range from remodeling a house to paying for airfare and lodging for a family member to get to the hospital where the wounded warrior is being treated.

He said the fund shift was made without consulting veterans groups, and said the move sets a bad precedent.

Message to veterans: you’re better off dead than alive. Gov. Ducey stepped on a rake with this proposal — thwap!

The governor’s office must have been lit up by phone calls from angry veterans. This bone-head move has quickly been rescinded. Ducey drops plan to fund veterans’ cemeteries:

Facing a flurry of opposition from veterans and questions from legislators, Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday abandoned his plan to pay for cemetery operations from a fund to help the families of wounded veterans.

“We’re going to find another source of revenue,” said Daniel Scarpinato, the governor’s spokesman.

Scarpinato said the governor does not yet know exactly where he will come up with the $929,400 needed to run the existing state veteran cemetery in Sierra Vista, as well as the costs for new cemeteries near Flagstaff and Marana set to open next year. But he said the governor believes the dollars can be found somewhere else in the proposed $9.1 billion budget.

Ducey’s reversal came less than 12 hours after Capitol Media Services first reported on Ducey’s proposal.

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AZ BlueMeanie
The Blue Meanie is an Arizona citizen who wishes, for professional reasons, to remain anonymous when blogging about politics. Armed with a deep knowledge of the law, politics and public policy, as well as pen filled with all the colors stolen from Pepperland, the Blue Meanie’s mission is to pursue and prosecute the hypocrites, liars, and fools of politics and the media – which, in practical terms, is nearly all of them. Don’t even try to unmask him or he’ll seal you in a music-proof bubble and rendition you to Pepperland for a good face-stomping. Read blog posts by the infamous and prolific AZ Blue Meanie here.


    • Cheri, if you pick and choose you can find stories about Republicans shortchanging veterans to your hearts content. I can do the same for Democrats. Shortchanging veterans is an equal opportunity scam.

      The decision to keep the wars off the books goes back to when Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress. It continued once Republicans gained the House and the Democrats retained the Senate, and I suspect it will continue under Republican control of both Houses of Congress. All the while the Presidents, both Democrat and Republican, agreed with Congress to keep the wars off the books. Like everything you have been arguing, it wasn’t a Republican “thing”.

      The same goes for who “owns” the wars. Obama came to Office and shut down Iraq and then expanded Afghanistan. He has now expanded into Syria and Jordan, as well as sending troops back into Iraq. Again the wars are not necessarily a Republican “thing”.

      Try as hard as you might to the contrary, Cheri, you are going find that Democrats and Republicans both send young men off to war and then dump on them when they return home. That is the simple sad truth.

    • I don’t know how to break this to you, Cheri, but virtually everything mentioned in that White House Bulletin is talk and nothing more. Read it carefully and you will see that it talks in terms of what they intend to do, or what they are in the process of doing. When it comes to what they have accomplished, it is rather vague. If you try and Google the “accomplishments”, you will find very little to document their claims. As far as Ducey’s little slight of hand with the Veteran’s money: You will never hear me defend that bit of duplicity. It is the type of thing I am talking about.

      But please don’t be foolish and think it is a Republican “thing”. Democrats are no better at following through on their promises. As a Veteran, I chose to be heavily involved with Veteran’s Affairs and I always hear about this program or that program, but very little is ever done. It is a lot like how the VA is run…big on promises, short on delivery. Obama is no better than Bush was at actually coming through on the programs they talk about. The best programs originate with private citizens who actually do care about the veterans.

  1. Nothing in Arizona politics should surprise anyone any more. Ducey has no military experience, but Ted Vogt served as an Air Force intelligence officer. He was stationed throughout the Middle East and in Afghanistan before he started his political career. You would think those personal experiences would have enlightened him about the need, and taught him to check in with your “stakeholders” and the state legislators first. But then again, he worked for Rumsfeld and Cheney; two men without much insight who never say they are sorry. I wonder, if anyone, who will get called to the woodshed over this? Inquiring minds may never know.

    • I’m not certain how much credibility the Democrat Party has with veterans. So, even if they were willing – which they aren’t – I don’t think they could get one going without a lot of effort and a promise of free food. You rightfully surmised that the ONLY concern the Democrats would have about this is it allows them to criticize the Governor. Other than, they couldn’t care less.

      • This statement (opinion) is EXACTLY OPPOSITE OF THE TRUTH. Par for the course. You do realize that you have been a pawn for their propaganda machine, don’t you? Show me exact instances where Republicans have done anything to help veterans. Really help veterans. Show me. I’ll wait.

        • Did I say anywhere in my posting that Republicans had done anything to really help veterans? No, I didn’t. My comments concerned the Democrats which was the subject of the original blog. Both Party’s have a long and miserable history of providing support to veterans and it goes back a long time. I am not a pawn to anyone’s propaganda machine because neither Party has anything to propagandize over.

          Based upon your quick and shrill response to what you thought I said, you seem to be defending the some sort of Democrat record on this. Would you mind sharing the glories of the Democrat record when it comes to veterans? I would be fascinated to hear about it.

          • Returned Government to Treating Soldiers and Veterans with Dignity and Respect

            Provided active combat troops with better body armor.

            Created Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record program for military personnel, in order to improve the quality of their medical care.

            Put an end to the Bush-era stop-loss policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan beyond their enlistment date. (personal note: my son will be in harm’s way for six fewer months with Obama as president, so you know I love this one.)

            Along with Congressional Democrats, supported and signed Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act, which made more money available to enable better medical care for veterans.

            Along with Congressional Democrats, ushered through largest spending increase in 30 years for Department of Veterans Affairs, with money to go to improved medical facilities, and to assist states in acquiring or constructing state nursing homes and extended care facilities.

            Created the Green Vet Initiative, which provided special funding to the Labor Department to provide veterans with training in green jobs.

            Initiated and signed a recruitment and employment plan to get more veterans into government jobs.

            Oversaw a $4.6 billion expansion of the Veterans Administration budget to pay for more mental health professionals.

            Signed the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act, which ensures that spouses of military personnel who are forced to move because their spouse is posted for military duty will be able to avoid state taxes in their temporary residence.

            Issued an Executive Order to improve access to mental health care for veterans, military personnel and their families.

            was able to get Syria to dismantle its chemical weapons without military firing a single shot or dropping a single bomb.

            Along with Congressional Democrats, not only reauthorized families of fallen soldiers to be able to visit when the body arrives at Dover AFB, but also provided funding for it. Ended the media blackout on coverage of the return of fallen soldiers.

            Funded Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with an extra $1.4 billion to improve veterans’ services.

          • First of all, Cheri, I want to thank you and your son for his honorable service in the Armed Forces. You for having raised him to hold such a sense of honor, and him for having the courage and honor to serve his country in the most substantial way possible. Placing himself in harms way for his country speaks only good things of your son. I understand completely your relief at having him home six months earlier. I had two sons who served, one in the Marines and one the Army, and I worried incessantly about them when they were serving in a combat zone. Kudos to both of you!

            I read all of the citations you listed, and to be honest I was only aware of some of them. I knew about the legislation and the body armor. For the legislation, I give full credit to the Democrats for sponsoring it, but to be fair it did require the cooperation of Republicans to make it law. And the body armor was a process of Army R&D and was in the budget for upgrades, but Obama raised the amount of funding to put more body armor in the field faster, for he which he deserves full credit.

            The rest of it was new to me, and I appreciate your pointing it out. That is one of the reasons I read and post on this blog. Every now and then I learn something of value. Your posting is a good example of that. Thank you for taking the time to research the issue and educate me on the subject. I truly appreciate your doing so!

  2. It’s long been obvious the GOP prefers the pre-born to the post-born. Now it seems they prefer the dead over those with feet still planted above the earth. No surprise, really.

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