Saturday, March 21, 2015

Let's look at the budget ... shall we?

In my previous blog, I hammered the process used by AZ Gov. Doug Ducey and the GOP-controlled legislature.  Now, let's look at the budget itself.  The best article on the subject comes from the Tucson Weekly.  It's clear, very understandable and doesn't contain all the gobbledegook that causes eye strain.  To read it ... click here.  Full credit goes to writer Jim Nintzel and any other Tucson Weekly writer who may have contributed to the article.

I'm going to boil Nintzel's article down to an even more concise overview of Ducey's budget ... the budget he rammed down our throats in the wee hours of the morning, without the "transparency" he so promised in his election campaign.

  • Education was nailed left and right, top to bottom, with nearly $100 million coming just from the three state universities.  Even some top conservatives are critical of what Ducey and his minions have done.  What will the monstrous cuts to education do to this state?  I'm going to let you think about it for a bit - and make sure to include Arizona's economy when you do your thinking.
  • The Social Safety Net in AZ - whack!!  Remember the big stink when lawmakers discovered that several thousand reports of child abuse had not been investigated?  Remember when former Gov. Jan Brewer created a new agency to handle all that?  Well ... Ducey and the GOP yanked $11 million from that new agency.  Now we know how the governor feels about Arizona children.  Of course, they can't vote.  Many other social safety net programs were slashed, too, leaving many Arizona families ... where?  I can't even imagine.
  • Cities and counties will have to pick up the tab.  Hey ... if state funding to cities and counties is reduced, who do you think will have to pay the bill?  Oh ... that's right.  YOU will pay the bill in higher county/city/town fees, fines, and taxes.
  • Prisons and prison operators are cheering!  They got a whopping increase of about $39 million.  Perhaps Ducey knows he has to prepare for more prison space due to his cuts to education?  Now that is forward thinking!
  • More tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy.  Well, come on ... you shouldn't be surprised.  Ducey campaigned on that!  It's simple math.  If you cut taxes, you cut the money coming in to pay for state government.  From the Tucson Weekly article:  "... the Joint Legislative Budget Committee estimates that in fiscal year 2017, they [tax cuts] will cost $190 million more than in the current year, and in the following year, they will cost $267 million more than the current year."  Wow ... want to guess what future Republican budgets will look like?
  • Democrats were left out of the process!  Okay, one Democrat voted for the budget, but he got a nice chunk of change for a project in his district.  Let's put it this way:  If you were opposed to this budget, you were not represented in the process because your representatives or senator were not included in the process.  
In a prepared statement, Ducey said,  "This is the job Arizonans hired us for, and I'm proud we were able to get it done in a responsible, swift and bipartisan manner."

Three lies in one sentence!  1) No, Arizona didn't hire you to gut education and social safety net programs and we didn't hire you to keep ignoring the middle class and the poor.  2) This budget was not created through responsible governing because the future of Arizona has been ignored.  3) Bipartisan - that's a laugh.

The only truth to Ducey's statement is that the process was swift.  

The ramifications of his work, however, will last a very, very, very long time.

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