"Cuts Only" is Not a Solution for Arizona's Economy or Children
The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the four bills that constitute another partisan budget that falls far short of solving Arizona's budget crisis. Despite a continuing budget deficit of over $2 billion dollars, it appears the Republican Caucus in both the Senate and House are lined up to make more cuts to public schools and Arizona's most vulnerable citizens without even considering additional revenue options leaving a continuing deficit of nearly $1.5 billion dollars when their work is done.
A budget deal that was negotiated among Governor Brewer, Senate President Burns, and House Speaker Kirk Adams last week had little opposition in the Senate Republican Caucus and appeared ready to sail through the process today until the Homebuilders Association asked for some changes to be made to protect some of their interests. After some negotiations, the bill was amended to meet those interests and passed by the Senate Committee of the Whole. The budget package still needs to pass a final vote of the Senate and be considered by the House.
The House will go to work on the package beginning tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. Senate President Burns and House Speaker Adams expect the bills to be passed by the legislature tomorrow and sent to the Governor for her signature. The Governor is expected to sign the bill despite large cuts to public schools and the Department of Economic Security to programs that protect Arizona's most vulnerable citizens.
Coalition Offers Alternatives to Budget Cuts
AEA Vice President Andrew Morrill blasted the Republican maneuvers as "cut first, cut last (and) cut only" during a news conference on the capitol lawn today. The Arizona Budget Coalition held a news conference where leaders from the Children's Action Alliance, SEIU, and the AEA outlined specific proposals to generate up to $6.7 billion in new revenue to prevent more cuts to our schools and vital state services.
The Governor and the Legislature have the opportunity to minimize more permanently damaging budget reductions that could potentially retard or even destroy Arizona's future economy and the quality of life so treasured by its citizens. The six Revenue Options presented by ABC have the potential to provide up to $6.7 billion in additional revenue to the state. The ABC believes the options are both doable and viable in the short term while Arizona leaders take a long-term, comprehensive approach to achieve permanent fiscal balance. Review the ABC list of budget options here.
Watch for an update on the special session tomorrow and Friday. Visit www.march4schools.com to learn how you can join the citizens' movement seeking a comprehensive solution to our state's budget crisis that protects Arizona families, invests in our economy's recovery, and limits damage to our public schools.