Friday, April 1, 2011

Legislature Passes State Budget. Senate Dems: "Dawn of a Dark Chapter." Senate President Russell Pearce: "State Has a Brighter Future"

Posted By on Fri, Apr 1, 2011 at 7:13 PM

There's a lot to unpack in the budget that's headed for Gov. Jan Brewer's desk, but we'll start with reaction from Senate Democrats:

Legislative Republicans shoved a budget through the Senate and House that kills jobs, massively cuts education and kicks hundreds of thousands of people off of health care. Unfortunately, the attack on middle class Arizonans in this budget is very real.

“The Republican budget is devastating to Arizona’s economic recovery and confirms that Legislative Republicans do not prioritize education or Arizona’s families,” said Senate Minority Leader David Schapira. “Republicans blatantly ignore the cumulative effect of the hundreds of millions of dollars they have cut over the past several years. And despite their claims otherwise, there is no funding in this budget to restore transplant coverage that could save the lives of nearly 100 Arizonans.”

The Republican budget:

Cuts $511 million, a higher cut than any proposal to date, from AHCCCS and results in an additional $1.2 billion loss in federal matching dollars.

Cuts up to 280,000 people from health care coverage.

Cuts $183 million from K-12 education in addition to the $600 million cut in the last four years.

Cuts $198 million from universities in addition to the over $200 million cut in the last four years.

Cuts $73 million from community colleges in addition to the over $50 million cut in the last four years.

Cuts the Department of Economic Security by $50 million.

Cuts 13,000 children from receiving daycare services.

Cuts the Department of Health Services by $53 million.

“The message Legislative Republicans send in this budget is that they do not care about the middle class,” said Senate Assistant Minority Leader Leah Landrum Taylor. “This budget will make college unaffordable for many students and will result in tax increases for all homeowners.”

When the bills were deliberated in the Senate, Senate Democrats offered solutions to lessen the devastating cuts to education and Arizona’s families, but the Republicans voted against all of the amendments.

“This is the dawn of a dark chapter in Arizona’s history,” said Senate Minority Whip Paula Aboud. “We should be helping Arizonans to survive this economic crisis, but instead this budget cuts the lifeline to our vulnerable citizens and our fragile education system. The Republican message to Arizonans is ‘do more with less’, but instead they are asking Arizonans to do more with practically nothing.”

GOP Senate President Russell Pearce counters:

Today the Arizona State Senate passed a balanced budget and sent it to the Governor. The Senate budget used no gimmicks, no new rollovers and no borrowing. This fulfills a commitment our leadership team made to the people of Arizona. I know our Members faced difficult decisions. The budget reductions they supported are reasonable. By balancing the budget now, we don’t pass the buck to future generations. For years, the Legislature has played games with the Arizona budget. Those games ended today, and our state has a brighter future because of the votes of our Republican caucus.

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