Once again Governor Brewer and Republican leadership have called the Legislature into a special session to pass a Republican-only budget plan. Republicans continue to refuse to put partisanship aside and negotiate with Democrats, and now they are scrambling at the eleventh hour to find votes for a plan that apparently not even their own members can stomach. If Democrats are to be locked out of budget agreement, then the least Republican leadership could do is guarantee votes from their own members.
We cannot vote for a budget that is highly dependent on cuts and does not take the state’s future into account by creating a comprehensive budget plan. By cutting $144 million from our schools, this plan makes it harder for educators to perform their job by taking money out of the classroom. The $148 million in cuts to the Department of Economic Services amount to a 31 percent reduction from the original 2009 appropriation.
We continue to be willing to work with the Republicans to find a solution to this fiscal crisis. In fact, this plan would be on the governor’s desk right now if Republicans had agreed to provide some relief to school districts on our Native American lands and restore crucial protections for teachers. These simple issues would have zero cost to the state and would have gone very far as a show of good faith to students and teachers statewide. But Republicans would apparently rather do nothing than agree to a single Democratic priority.