Thursday, April 14, 2016

Arizona Republican Leaders Don't Care About Kids: In Their Own Words

Posted By on Thu, Apr 14, 2016 at 4:00 PM

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State budget time is drawing near, and since a budget is a statement of the values of those who create it, we'll learn once again what Gov. Ducey, the Republican legislative leadership and the vast majority of Republican legislators value.

When I was on The Buckmaster Show Wednesday, I said, "Republicans don't care about kids." I wasn't referring to their own kids, of course—they may be wonderful parents—or the kids of people like them, who they also may like just fine. When you control the purse strings, you demonstrate how much you care about children by your actions toward other people's children, and when it comes to that, well, our Republicans in power don't care about kids. So I think we're going to have another one of those draconian, anti-education, anti-social-services, pro-tax-cuts budgets we've seen lately.

Let's take a look back at some statements made by Republicans which show the kind of values that shape their budget.

Doug Ducey says he thinks early childhood education is really, really important.
"Research shows that a quality early childhood education experience can yield significant long-term benefits on overall development of a child."
So he thinks we should invest in early childhood education, right? Wrong.
"We know that there's a good return on investment,'' he said. But Ducey said people need to recognize the state's financial condition.
To recap: Early childhood education is good for the long-term development of the child, and it's a good investment for the state, but Ducey won't fund it because we can't afford to do what's best for children and the future of Arizona.

Ducey is also a strong supporter of JTED.
“JTEDs and technical training is critical to the future of our state, and it will continue to be critical to the future of our state,” Ducey said.
But Ducey advocated for last year's $30 million cut to the program, saying:
“We had to do what had to be done in this budget session."
Did we really have to do that, cut $30 million from JTED? Apparently not, because the legislature put the money back this session. The money was always there, but Ducey and the Republican leadership didn't want to spend it on our youth even though Ducey admitted the program "is critical to the future of our state."

And then, of course, there's KidsCare, the program that provides health care services for children in families that make too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford medical care. Every state but Arizona provides coverage for those children. Senate President Andy Biggs is blocking the bill because, though it won't cost the state any money in the short term, at one point the state will have to contribute to the program, and then it'll be too late to kill it.
"I think it's oversimplistic to say we'll just put a trigger on this and it stops," Biggs said on "Horizon." "It won't just stop, because you have created a constituency."
For Biggs, when it comes to children, cutting the budget is more important than caring for their health.

Ducey hasn't taken a stand on the issue, at least not in so many words. He said,
“What we want is to make sure we are investing in our kids, we’re protecting them and we have a structurally balanced budget."
Of course, Ducey plans to continue to cut corporate taxes, which, according to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, will lower corporate tax collections from the 2007 level of $986 million, to a 2019 level of $298 million. And there's no way you can cut corporate taxes by almost $700 million a year and and invest in our kids them while maintaining a structurally balanced budget. So tough luck, kids. Low taxes for Ducey's rich friends come first.

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