This is guaranteed to drive more mentally ill and just plain poor people into prison at extraordinary expense - all those costs are just getting passed on to the kids and grandkids. Why is it the poor who always get nailed? Why not increase income taxes on those making over $250,000/year? They aren't about to end up homeless or dead because they lose $50 a week out of their household resources. The rest of us are.
What a selfish state.The Republicans had this planned from the get go, so they could eliminate safety nets and state services, and pour what's left into the new private prisons that will be built to either warehouse or employ future generations to the profit of multinational corporations with no investment in prisoner rights, welfare or re-entry success - or employee empowerment and organizing.
I can't believe state employees are actually going to put up with this. There should be a massive revolt.
January 15, 2010
By Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services
Capitol Media Services
|Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer |
Gov. Jan Brewer is proposing to empty state facilities of juvenile offenders, repeal a mandate to care for the severely mentally ill, kill state funding for full-day kindergarten, eliminate free health care for more than 300,000 low income people, sell off more state buildings, borrow more money and cut state employee pay by 5 percent to balance the budget for the remainder of this year and the next one.
And even with all that, the governor still wants an immediate hike in state sales taxes, higher fees for businesses and a new levy on labor costs for repairs on everything from automobiles to home appliances.
Of potential note is Brewer's demand that lawmakers enact those higher taxes and fees themselves so that retailers start collecting the extra one-cent levy on the state's 5.6 percent sales tax on March 1. That would require a two-third vote of both the House and Senate.
But Brewer could not even convince a simple majority of senators to support just sending the issue to the ballot.
Gubernatorial press aide Paul Senseman said, though, lawmakers are going to realize the financial situation is worse than they thought. And he said if they don't go along, then the cuts to state programs will be even worse.
Brewer's proposed budget does not cut basic aid to universities, community colleges or public schools, beyond killing the funds for full-day kindergarten programs.
But that is only because she cannot: Once the state took federal stimulus funds it committed not to slash funding below 2006 levels. Prior cuts have put financing there.
That doesn't mean there won't be hits to education. By keeping funding the same, it reduces the amount of state dollars schools get on a per-pupil basis. For K-12, the figure for the coming year will be about $3,370; it was close to $4,000 two years ago.