I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Latest on the @#% State Budget

AEA analysis of budget process to date and where to go from here, from Doug Kilgore:

August 10-14, 2009

A Week of Tricks and Treason Results in Déjà Vu - Take Action Now

More than a week ago the House passed a budget that took the budget vetoed on July 1 by the governor and added three additional provisions:

A $400 million dollar cut in corporate and personal income taxes that primarily benefited large corporations and the wealthiest Arizonans,

A ballot referral to remove the "Voter Protection Act" which would allow the legislature to raid Proposition 301 education funding and other voter-mandated funding, and

A one-cent three-year temporary sales tax, the signature budget provision the governor is fighting to include in the budget.

The Senate has been trying since then to find the 16 votes needed to pass the House budget. A lot of arm-twisting of Senator Carolyn Allen(R-Scottsdale) failed to get her to provide the 16th vote for the House budget. Senator Allen does not like the deep cuts to public education and vital state services. She opposes the removal of the voter protection act and the tax breaks that are included. So, she has been a firm "no." (Hooray Senator Allen – send that woman some thank yous).

The Procedural Trick

The Senate president then resorted to a trick. He had new bills drafted to separate the sales tax issue from the rest of the budget which would have allowed Senator Allen to provide the 16th vote for that issue and not have to support the rest of the budget. Burns had lined up votes for the rest of the package. But Senator Allen, who is home and recuperating from a serious injury, refused to provide the 16th vote. If she had, all the negative issues she opposed would have been included in the overall package.

Attempt at Treason

Failing to produce Senator Allen as the 16th vote, Senator Burns attempted to find one Democrat to be the 16th vote for the Republican budget. He and the governor met with several Democratic senators, but to no avail. Considering the negative consequences that the Republican budget would have on the economy, public schools, and vital services for the Arizona working and middle class, any deal with a Democrat was considered treasonous to the Democratic caucus priorities. All the Democrat senators stood strong against such a deal.

Déjà vu

Failing to pass the House budget or a version of the budget that included the sales tax the governor has requested, the Senate passed a combination of bills and amendments that resulted in sending a budget package back to the House that is almost exactly the same as the budget the legislature passed on June 30. That budget was vetoed by the governor on July 1. The only difference between the June 30 budget package and the one passed this week by the Senate are a few carrots that were added in order to get the vote of Senator Jack Harper (R-Surprise), including a 5% across-the-board reduction of state employee jobs resulting in the mandatory layoffs of 2,500 additional jobs in a state that is suffering from a lack of jobs.

On July 1 Governor Brewer vetoed virtually the same budget describing it as a "fatally flawed legislative budget." She continued on to state, "The legislative budget ignores my consistently expressed goals and instead incorporates devastating cuts to education, public safety, our state's most vital health services for the frail. In particular, this package of bills is shortsighted in that it sets up an enormous revenue shortfall that will severely harm our state's future."

With the addition of automatic cuts of 2,500 state jobs, this budget is worse for our economy and our citizens and deserves a quick veto if it is sent to the governor.

Email the governor and ask her to veto this budget.

Why the Senate Budget is Flawed

The budget that the Senate passed this week is fatally flawed for the following reasons: Click here for a specific summary of each budget flaw listed below.

Massive Cuts to Public Education totaling nearly a half billion dollars

Punitive Language to Strip Basic Rights of Teachers

Tax Cuts that Reward Large Corporations

Cuts to Vital State Services that Impact Children and Families

Job Cuts that Deepen the Recession

Continued Deficit for Arizona's Budget

Prepare for Next Week

The House and Senate will convene on Monday at 1:00 p.m. Senator President Burns and Governor Brewer have been working to find a 16th vote for the sales tax increase and attempt to find a way to continue a Republican-only strategy to pass a budget over the weekend.

It is unclear if they can be successful. There are many on the right-wing end of the House Republican caucus who may reject this new Senate budget because it does not include tax cuts, spending freezes, and the repeal of the voter protection act. If the Senate budget is sent to the governor, it is not clear what she will do.

The AEA March4Schools citizens' movement will continue to press for bipartisan budget discussions among the governor and the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate. Such discussions will result in a budget that reflects the priorities of Arizonans. Check for updates.

News Clips

State budget is nothing short of a bad rerun

Our view: GOP must bring Democrats to table in order to create passable plan

Valley schools face challenges due to budget cuts

Budget cuts are forcing many Valley schools to make serious changes in their classrooms.

Lawmakers call for school tax credit probe

Democratic leaders in the state House of Representatives on Tuesday called for state and federal investigations into Arizona's Private School Tuition Tax Credits program and the scholarship charities that operate the tax subsidy.

Contact Us
Please contact Doug Kilgore, Government Relations Organizational Consultant, for questions and comments .

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