It’s About Priorities

October 10, 2010 by  

Arizona is still reeling from a budget crisis, the worst in our state’s history.  This is why the Legislature is asking voters to approve Propositions 301 and 302.  They would transfer monies from the Land Conservation Fund and First Things First program, respectively, into the General Fund to be used exclusively for higher priority core children’s education and health and welfare services.

We are committed to children and their well-being, which is why we support Prop. 301, which is already set to expire in 2011 and Prop. 302, originally meant to supplement the very programs the state will be forced to eliminate.  The 302 language is clear that the money will go to its intended purposes.  It says, “These monies shall be separately accounted for and shall be appropriated for Health and Human Services for children.” 

Why would we ask such a thing of voters?  We believe Arizonans understand priorities.   Like the state, they have had to adjust their own budgets due to the recession.  They understand the spending that made sense during a booming economy is not practical now.  In short, they know that when resources are limited, wants must be put aside so that needs can be met.

We also believe citizens want to be a part of ensuring their priorities are the state’s priorities and that they deserve an opportunity to redirect tax dollars meant for “nice to have” programs to “need to have” priorities that include basic education, health and public safety.

These decisions are not easy. And, for many, they are less than ideal, but they are critical to getting Arizona back in the black and operating at a sustainable level.  Again – it’s all about priorities.  For example – why use taxpayer money to give out kits to new mothers in the hospital when we could be paying for health insurance for children with those dollars, especially when other groups already deliver ‘new parent’ kits?  The fact that the First Things First program has over 100 new state employees to run the existing program is troubling when those same tax dollars could be used to re-hire needed primary grade teachers.    

Finally, voters need to know that if these propositions fail, this will leave a $468 million dollar hole in the budget forcing the Legislature to immediately make cuts in areas most voters would consider higher priorities in state government.

Meeting budget will obviously demand more reductions and we’re willing to make them, but we also realize that reductions alone will not be enough. There’s still a steep hill to climb before we’re out of this mess.  That’s why we’re fighting Federal spending mandates, pushing pro-growth economic development strategies and continuing to reform government and root out waste and duplication where ever possible. But we’re also asking voters to be part of the solution. 

Editorial by Republican Legislators and candidates from Districts 6, 7, 8, and 11.  Sen. David Braswell, Rep. Amanda Reeve, Rep. Carl Seel, Lori Klein, Republican candidate for State Senate, Sen. Ed Bunch, Rep. Nancy Barto, Heather Carter, Republican candidate for State House, David Smith, Republican candidate for State House, Rep. John Kavanagh, Rep. Michele Reagan, Michelle Ugenti, Republican candidate for State House, Rep. Adam Driggs.

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