Tuition tax credit task force meeting, Part 2

Crandall thinks some public testimony is inappropriate

by David Safier

One of the people who testified at Wednesday's House task force on tuition tax credits and STOs was Ann-Eve Pedersen, one of the Tucsonans who have worked hard to uncover information about misuse of tuition tax credit funds and are trying to reform the system.

I talked with Pedersen this morning about her testimony. She read from a written statement, she told me. When she got to the part about Sen. Steve Yarbrough's STO, which looks a whole lot like a government-funded goldmine for the senator, Republican Rep. Rich Crandall interrupted. He cautioned her that Yarbrough's STO was not the focus of the hearing.

Pedersen continued, saying that, with taxpayers losing homes and jobs, they are unlikely to look kindly on Yarbrough enriching himself at taxpayer expense. She compared the situation to the Alt-Fuels scandal in the early 1990s where state funds were squandered and many legislators' reputations were badly tarnished. She suggested it's the legislature's duty to make sure that doesn't happen again. [Note: I wasn't around during the Alt-Fuels debacle, so I won't try to elaborate.]

Somewhere around that time, Crandall interrupted again. He was clearly upset, Pedersen said, shooting daggers at her with his eyes during her entire testimony. The shenanigans of Yarbrough's STO, well documented here as well as in the Republic and the Trib, are clearly a sore spot for Crandall.

Pedersen said this wasn't the first time she was interrupted by Crandall. When the House Education Committee was in Tucson awhile back, she stood to speak. Well before she reached her 3 minute time limit, when she was talking about how the draconian cuts being made to education were mobilizing all kinds of people who were appalled at what was happening and were ready to fight to save our schools, Crandall cut her off.

By the way, if I didn't get the interchange at the task force hearing exactly right, it's because I haven't been able to watch a video of the meeting. The reason? The Rs wouldn't allow it to be videotaped. More on that in Part 3.

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