STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Democrats on Friday said government needs to be held accountable after Gov. Jan Brewer released another plan rife with massive cuts and a tax increase that undermine our state’s ability to fix its economic woes.
“Gov. Brewer and her plan are not on your side,” House Minority Leader Chad Campbell said. “Jobs and the economy should be top priorities, but Brewer’s plans have left Arizona in crisis and they continue to do so. Now more than ever, we need to hold government accountable to ‘We the People’.”
-Increases property taxes on homeowners. Arizonans will see a $62 million increase overall in property taxes.
-Eliminates even more Arizonans from health care. Even though Arizonans repeatedly have passed voter-approved measures to adequately fund health care, Brewer's budget proposal would eliminate health care coverage for 280,000 Arizonans, including 5,200 of the seriously mentally ill. The cuts also disqualify Arizona from receiving $1.1 billion in federal dollars that Arizona taxpayers send to Washington, D.C. In a study commissioned by business leaders, a similar proposal would have resulted in 42,000 jobs lost in the health care sector.
-Does not restore life-saving transplants. Nearly 100 Arizonans’ lives are at stake because they were kicked off of health care and have no access to transplants. Brewer's budget prioritizes funding for state building repair, while the $1.2 million needed for transplants goes unfunded.
-Cuts another whopping $243 million from higher education. Since 2009, Brewer has made the largest cuts to education in state history, failing to solve the deficit and boost Arizona’s economy. Her newest cuts to universities and community colleges, 20 percent cut to their overall budget, disable the infrastructure needed to economically rebound and create incubators for economic sectors that will enable our state to weather future economic downturns through the creation of high-paying jobs.
-Borrowing on the backs of our kids. Brewer's budget also requires the K-12 education system to weather additional cuts of $170 million and will force school districts to loan the state an unprecedented fourth roll-over payment, totaling the state's debt to school districts at $1.2 billion. School districts are forced to borrow funds from the bank and incur the costs of interest to pay their bills while waiting for the state's late payments. Teachers will receive a $5.1 million pay cut.
“Gov. Brewer’s budget proposal is wrought with decisions that jeopardize our long-term economic recovery, eliminates jobs instead of creating them and worsens the educational and health care systems in our state,” said Senate Minority Leader David Schapira. “Our response to the economic crisis is a test of who we are as a people.”
Democrats believe in a government that is on your side:
-Accountability: Democrats believe in accountability — plain and simple. It’s time that government stop working for special interests and start working for ‘We the People.’ We need to hold accountable the system, lobbyists, governor, special interests, those getting special tax treatment, big corporations and tax cheats.
-Balanced, responsible solutions: Democrats believe we need to put Arizona first again by harnessing our natural strengths to build a strong 21st Century economy and create good-paying jobs. That includes making our state a leader in the development of solar power and renewable energy manufacturing.
-Strong future: Democrats know that quality education is both a moral and economic issue — key to both our state’s economic recovery and children’s future. We are fighting to fully fund our schools, ensuring our children have access to all-day Kindergarten and that our public universities and community colleges remain affordable and provide needed job training.
-Strong leadership: Democrats oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants and support tough immigration laws that arrest and deport human smugglers, drug traffickers and crack down on corporations that hire illegal immigrants. We’re fighting to give our hard-pressed local law enforcement agencies the tools they need to keep our families safe. We are pushing for the federal government to finally step up and secure the border.
In holding government accountable, Brewer has rejected options to solve the budget deficit such as:
-Go after tax cheats and uncollected taxes. Arizona has an opportunity to help balance the budget by going after hundreds of millions in uncollected taxes that rule breakers have not paid.
-Close tax loopholes. Nearly $10 billion of outrageous tax loopholes exist in Arizona, and Republicans refuse to close the loopholes that benefit their rich, special interest friends. These loopholes, such as tax-free country club memberships, spa treatments and facelifts and 4-inch pipes are a waste of our tax dollars.
To see Brewer’s irresponsible budget, go to: http://www.ospb.state.az.us/