Monday, November 23, 2009

Legislature cuts hundreds of millions from schools, services, blames Democrats

In approving $144 million cut from K-12 and $150 million from the Department of Economic Services today, apparently House Appropriations Chairman John Kavanaugh (R-Fountain Hills) is unhappy because Democrats haven't 'pitched in.'

There is a good reason for that. Apparently when Kavanaugh, Bob Burns and other Republican leaders in Phoenix suggest that Democrats should 'pitch in,' it means vote for budgets that the Republicans have already written behind closed doors, presumably because they are having so much trouble keeping their own troops in line.

Going along with something somebody tells you they want you to vote for is not 'pitching in.'

Nobody disputes that the state's economic situation is dire, facing a budget deficit that could reach as high as a third of the budget (even after last year's budget cuts.) And while Republicans have controlled the legislature since 1964, which is one reason our 'low tax' state is unable to sustain what we do spend despite being well below the national average in terms of per capita state spending, fixing blame on decades of past failures won't solve today's problems.

Certainly the deficit is so huge that it will require more cuts, and certainly too the situation is so bad that likely a solution is only possible if all sixty members of the house and all thirty members of the Senate work together.

However if the Republican leadership wants a 'bipartisan' budget solution, they have a funny way of showing it in that they are unwilling to actually let Democrats in to help write it before expecting them to vote for it.

True, there was a report that Senator Bob Burns was chasing four specific Democratic members of the Senate to try and buy their votes. But that's hardly negotiating with Democrats. The members of the Democratic caucuses have elected Representative David Lujan as house minority leader and Senator Jorge Garcia as senate minority leader. Any real negotiation with Democrats means meaningful discussions with representative Lujan and senator Garcia and their respective leadership teams.

How bad do things have to get before we get a meaningful discussion down in Phoenix about how the legislature can move forward and solve the problems that the people expect them to solve?


Jack Hampton said...

I guess I should be glad I moved from Arizona to California, huh?

From the frying pan into the fire.

Then again, at least we did get a budget for this year, it's next year's budget that will be gruesome in Sacramento.

cpmaz said...

Oh, don't fret Jack - next year's AZ budget will be more gruesome than even CA's.

Trust me.