Friday, March 27, 2009

Welcome to Tent City!

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 3:31 PM

The Arizona Legislature is beginning to give us some hints of how they plan to balance the budget. We like the part about moving the prisons to Mexico. Maybe we can sell some counties to New Mexico or something, too.

A common target is social spending, which was already hacked in this year's budget fix, completed in January. Here's reax from the Children's Action Alliance on the proposed budget cuts:

GOP Budget Drafts Slash Family Programs

Children’s Action Alliance calls on leadership to find a less disastrous approach to balancing the state budget.

Phoenix, AZ — Children’s Action Alliance’s early analysis of the House and Senate Republican leadership draft budget proposals circulating at the state capitol show that those hardest hit by budget cuts are Arizonans who can least afford it. Children’s Action Alliance (CAA) today voiced deep concern that if these draft proposals are adopted, our communities would face a grim future in the year to come.

“With budgets like these, Arizona could expect to see tent cities of homeless families sprouting up in neighborhoods around the state,” said Dana Wolfe Naimark, CAA President and CEO. “We would suffer from larger and larger crowds in our hospital emergency rooms because people would have nowhere else to go. And our ranks of children living in temporary foster care would skyrocket

because more and more parents would simply not be able to care for their children.”

Both of the draft budget plans take the biggest cuts from Arizonans in dire need of assistance. The cuts to the Department of Economic Security total 13.5% of the general fund budget compared to 4.6% for universities and 3.9% for the Department of Corrections. The FY10 budget proposals cut $248 million from health and human services — ON TOP OF the $158 million already cut this year.

These draft budgets would multiply the damage Arizona families are already suffering due to the recession. The budget proposals:

· eliminate KidsCare health coverage for children and their parents

· destroy both child care and full-day kindergarten

· remove the tools that help parents become self-sufficient

· obliterate options for families facing emergencies

· wipe out all prevention to help struggling families avoid crises

“We are anxious to engage in a full public dialogue about these proposals and alternatives,” said Naimark. “While some lawmakers said they had no idea what impact their fiscal year 2009 budget cuts would have, every single senator and representative should be clear about the consequences to children and families before they vote on a fiscal year 2010 budget.”

Children’s Action Alliance is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting the well-being of all of Arizona’s children and their families through research, policy development, media campaigns and advocacy. For more information, please visit the CAA website at www.azchildren.org.

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