Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Pay attention Cap'n Al, you just might actually learn something.
There are two good opinions today that tell the truth about the bad Tea-Publican state budget. Sen. Olivia Cajero Bedford (D-LD 27) in the Arizona Daily Star builds upon the Arizona Republic's earlier editorial opinion that called this a "job killing budget." Republican budget a jobs killer Arizona won't soon forget:
The Republicans passed a budget that will destroy education and health care, and take jobs away. The budget cuts more than a half a billion dollars from education, it cuts health care and essential services and it shifts costs to local communities.
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Republicans have said their budget is balanced and transparent. I say they've used misnomers: "savings" really means "cuts," "transfers" are "cost shifts to cities and counties," and "contribution" is the equivalent of "back-door tax increase."
Another word I'd use is "killer," as in "jobs killer," which is a far better description of what this budget will do to the Arizona economy. The loss of tens of thousands of jobs will be felt by Arizonans for a long time to come.
Republican legislators' offices sport signs that say, "Jobs are Job #1," but creating and preserving jobs takes more than a slogan on a sign. [That's a shot at you, Cap'n Al.]
Emergency-room waits will be longer because of a $511 million health-care cut. There will be an additional $1.2 billion loss in federal matching funds and 280,000 people cut off from health care, which will result in lost jobs in the health-care industry.
Teachers will lose their jobs and classroom sizes will balloon because of another $183 million cut from K-12 education. Arizona is at the bottom in education funding because of $600 million in cuts the last four years.
Universities will lose $198 million and community colleges will lose $73 million, on top of $250 million in previous cuts. Prospective students will not be able to attend a state university because of the proposed tuition increases. This equals job loss!
Republicans "balanced the budget" by pushing the costs onto cities and counties already struggling with their own budgets. Pima County will lose approximately $15 million. Instead of road building and maintenance, Republicans are forcing Pima County to fund the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Motor Vehicle Division.
Arizonans deserve leaders who will work to craft proposals to strengthen our education system, attract jobs and keep our streets safe (and paved!).
Democrats will continue to hold Republicans accountable for their irresponsible actions that eliminate jobs, education and health care.
Kathleen Ingley, a columnist with the Arizona Republic, today accuses the Tea-Publican legislature of Social Darwinism. That should give the Creationist GOP Taliban an anurism. GOP reducing state to Darwinian jungle:
Arizona's centennial is just around the corner. And members of the anti-government wing of the Republican Party want to celebrate by dismantling state services.
The next 100 years, if they have their way, will be coldhearted, unregulated and privatized.
The rest of us need to wake up because Arizona is already becoming this modern Darwinian jungle, ruled by survival of the fittest.
The state budget is set up to make it harder and harder to fund basic services.
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Here's why Arizona is really on the rocks:
– Reckless tax cuts. The GOP has pushed through tax cuts virtually every year since 1993, costing the state $2.9 billion after adjusting for inflation and growth. At the height of the housing bubble, the state made permanent reductions based on one-time surges in revenue. This is fiscal conservatism?
– Irresponsible borrowing. Would you take out a 20-year mortgage to pay your grocery and utility bills? Arizona did. The state took on $1.5 billion in long-term debt to pay short-term expenses. We borrowed against the Arizona Lottery. We did sale-leaseback deals that included Capitol buildings, making us a national joke. Now, the money's spent. When the full repayment schedule starts in two years, we'll shell out more than $120 million a year through 2029. That's cash down the drain that should go for education and basic services.
– Refusal to raise revenue. Arizona could have avoided that mountain of debt if legislators hadn't delayed more than a year in putting a sales-tax increase on the ballot. Instead of logical reforms to bring in more money, such as taxing services, they pursue half-baked flat-tax schemes that help the wealthy and hurt the poor. Meanwhile, we're sapping the state's ability to collect taxes. The Department of Revenue gets less funding, after adjusting for inflation, than in 1984 – when Arizona had half as many people.
– The financial cliff. The Legislature limited the sales-tax increase to three years. Now, Arizona faces a $1 billion plunge in revenue in 2013 – a huge bite in a state budget now running $8.3 billion. And there's another precipice: corporate tax cuts, adopted this year, which ramp up to more than $500 million in 2018.
Massive debt, collapsing revenue: Machiavelli couldn't have put together a more cunning strategy for attacking government services. [Not Machiavelli, Kathleen - Grover Norquist]
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And while Arizona is courting companies that require highly educated workers, legislators are slashing support for universities and community colleges.
They're only too happy, however, to boost tax credits for private-school tuition, draining money from the general fund and undercutting support for public schools.
Transit is being pushed into a downward spiral: The state eliminated local transportation funds, which used to come from the Lottery. That forces cities to cut service and raise fares, reducing usage, leading to more cuts.
As for health care – the only question seems to be how many people the state can throw under the bus.
GOP legislators rushed through a big package of business-tax breaks, promptly signed by Gov. Jan Brewer, with the rationale of creating jobs. But, at the same time, they're making deep budget cuts that will inevitably trigger widespread job losses – compounded by the loss of billions in federal matching money.
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This is not the next century Arizonans want.
The track record at the ballot box shows we believe in public schools, we care about the poor and sick, we value natural resources and we support transportation, including transit.
We know that government isn't the enemy, it's the way we act collectively. The state Constitution, the document that defines our government, begins, "We the people of the state of Arizona."
But the ideologues who want to starve government down to a skeleton have got state finances working in their favor.
Every forecast says this recovery will be long and slow. Revenue won't rebound quickly enough to overcome the destructive imbalances built into the budget.
Arizona's race to the bottom isn't going unnoticed. Last month, former Intel Chief Executive and board Chairman Craig Barrett warned that "cutbacks don't bode well" for the quality education essential to attracting companies like his. If Intel were site-hunting now, "I hate to say it, but I think Arizona would not be in the top 10 locales to make that investment."
Business leaders must be part of setting the state back on course…
Arizona should celebrate its centennial by restoring and revitalizing state services.