Arizona Republican Budget Priorities: $40,000 to Investigate Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples; $5 Million for Race Horse Owners and Jockeys

There is a lot to criticize in the Republican 2022 Fiscal Year State Budget. There is:

  • A billion-dollar flat tax that favors the ultra-rich at the expense of long-term fiscal stability.
  • The circumvention of funding Proposition 208-Invest in Education by making a small business carve-out for ultra-rich individuals or married couples.
  • The lack of investing only $12 million to expand KidsCare so more poor children can qualify for accessible state-run health insurance.

Also within the budget is another grotesque disparity. The Republican legislators and Governor, in their infinite warped sense of what is important, has funded five million dollars for racehorse owners and jockeys if their horses come in first, second, and third place in various competitions across the state.

This generous budget allotment to racehorse owners and jockeys can be found on line 91 of the itemized state budget by clicking below.

2021-07-01 FY22budgetbillsfinal

Think about that.

Republican legislators and Governor Doug Ducey thought it was more important to give racehorse owners and jockey’s bonuses for winning competitions than providing free health care for poor children.

They also thought paying these owners and jockeys was more important than investigating cases involving murdered and missing Indigenous people. The Republicans and Mr. Ducey only approved $40,000 in restricted monies from the State Attorney General’s office to fund that law enforcement priority.

Arizona State Legislative District 18 Representative Jennifer Jermaine commented on the funding for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous People that:

“We are grateful to the AG for his continued support of the MMIP committee and our work. It has been a true bipartisan partnership with his office.”

Ms. Jermaine and others in the world of reality would probably be more grateful if the five million dollars towards the winners of racehorse competitions went toward poor kids’ health care or better funding the investigations into murdered and missing Indigenous People.

It is more disgusting than the flat tax for the ultra-wealthy that Republicans would prioritize racehorses and gambling interests over poor children and victims of crime. How can they call themselves the party of the people and law and order?

No Progress in Arizona on Excavating former Government-sponsored Indigenous People’s School Grounds.

Following up on an earlier article that described the discovery of thousands of graves of Native American Children on Indian school grounds in Canada and the United States: Since the Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, announced that the Department would launch a conversation and investigation into how many Native American children were buried on Government-sponsored Indigenous People’s school grounds, Arizona officials have not yet excavated any of the state-sponsored or independent school sites in the Grand Canyon State.

So far, according to Representative Jermaine, 5,496 bodies have been found at other United States and Canadian-sponsored Native American school grounds.

There are 3,213 cases of bodies found that are documented in the Canadian government’s Truth in Reconciliation Commission Report. Additionally, there are 215 at the Kamloops campus, 104 at the Brandon campus, 38 at the Regina campus, 35 at the Muskowekwan campus, 751 at the Cowesess campus, 182 at the campus on the Ktunaxa Nation, 160 on the Penelakut Island campus, 227 on the Mt. Pleasant campus, 189 on the Carlisle campus, 161 on the Fort Providence campus, and 21 on the Grand Rapids campus.

200 Native American bodies were found on the grounds of the Stewart Indian School near Carson City, Nevada last week.

The Department of Interior has set an 11/1/21 date for releasing its initial report.

What are the Arizona officials waiting for?

Representative Jermaine commented:

Arizona Legislative District 18 State Representative Jennifer Jermaine

“Of the 55 locations in Arizona, only the Phoenix Indian School grounds had minimal excavation done for purposes of building the parking lot and bathrooms for Steele Indian School Park (City of Phoenix jurisdiction) – I have not found evidence of ground-penetrating radar or proper archaeological examination of that site.  The other AZ sites have not been searched yet – most are under federal jurisdiction.”

Progress on the Reporting of Missing Children

Democrats and Republicans did find common ground in passing the Jermaine-sponsored House Bill (HB) 2098 in the last legislative session.

This bill, signed by Governor Ducey on May 19, 2021, reformed the reporting process for missing children in Arizona.

Now, families or guardians can report missing children immediately after they have vanished.

This is a great step forward in providing child safety.

In addition to this legislation, Representative Jermaine said that cross-jurisdictional teams are needed to respond to these cases:

“The East Valley Crisis Response Team is a collaboration between police departments for the purposes of rapid deployment of resources and officers across jurisdiction lines. Chandler PD, Tempe PD, Mesa PD, Scottsdale, Gila River PD, and Salt River PD participate.  It has been in existence for a few years now and is a great example of how these systems can be put together on a statewide basis.  My bill goes into effect on 9/29 (the state’s general effective date.)” 

While there has been some progress in prioritizing murdered and missing Indigenous people, more clearly needs to be done.

Arizona officials need to investigate the sins of the past and properly fund the law and order priorities of the present and future.

Republicans should stop spending millions on paying cash-winning bonuses to racehorse owners and jockeys and billions on tax cuts for the ultra-rich. They need to fully fund the budget items that will keep people safe and move the state and its residents forward.






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