Monday, January 04, 2010

State Lege sweeps bequest to State Parks system

...But so long as Pinnacle West, the homebuilder associations and the other corporations that hire Republican lobbyists get their tax gifts cuts, who cares about the dying wishes of a generous woman?

From AZCentral.com -
In their latest effort to solve Arizona's budget crisis with cuts, lawmakers turned to a woman who couldn't make a fuss. After all, she has been dead for eight years.

Asta Forrest, a Danish immigrant who fell in love with Arizona after moving to Fountain Hills with her husband, left nearly $250,000 to the Arizona State Parks Board when she died of cancer at age 82.

{snip}

While parks officials considered what to do with the money, Arizona's budget deficit ballooned into the billions. Last month, when the Republican-led Legislature met in special session to cut $140 million from the budget, it swept up half the money in the parks system's donations fund, which included most of Forrest's donation.

"It was like they had kicked me in the stomach," [Former State Parks Director Ken] Travous said. "Surely, I thought, they have some shame. But they're shameless."

"Shameless."

Mr. Travous is far kinder and more tactful than I am when it comes to describing the leaders of the lege.

The new session of the lege is schedule to start in a week, and according to Mary Reinhart of The Arizona Guardian (subscription required to read the story), they have looked at the gaping maw of a deficit remaining in this year's budget and the absolute fiscal abyss projected for next year's budget and are working on a package of tax cuts to further reduce the state's revenues.

Welcome to Arizona, where the Republicans have never seen a hole that they didn't want to make deeper...

3 comments:

Martyrmama said...

I am sick over this. Just sick.

tarantulakeeper said...

Was this done with a bill? Is there a way to determine how the vote occurred? I'd like to contact my rep about this vote but need some info. Thanks, John

cpmaz said...

Tarantulakeeperr -

It was done as part of the budget process where the legislature ordered "sweeps" of most unused funds from various state agencies. The logic being that if the agency hasn't used or committed its use already, they don't need it and it should go back into the state's General Fund.

That's a very simple summary, but covers most of what happened.

If you contact your representative about this, remember that the problem isn't just with one bill (which I believe was one of the budget bills from the 5th Special Session of the 2009 legislature, but I'm not absolutely certain which special session caused this problem).

The problem is with the entire process used to set the budget. Unless your rep is a Republican and a member of legislative leadership, there's probably not much that he/she can do.