Monday, March 08, 2010

And so it continues - the gutting of Arizona's future

Cross-posted at Blog for Arizona...

I and others will do a more complete analysis of the bills that the lege is pushing as its budget "solution", but here is a brief bit on each, mostly from the factsheets prepared by legislative staff. I'm using the House bills here, but the Senate has an identical version of each bill posted, too.

HB2001, general appropriations (fact sheet here) - Many lowlights, too many to list all of them, but here's one - the lege expects to save almost $100 million by eliminating KidsCare, taking away health care from 47,000 Arizona children, but have no fear, they will be spending more than $98 million of that on 6000 new prison beds.

As an aside, they're budgeting almost $40 million for 2000 private prison beds (@$20K per) but $58 million for 4000 new beds in state prisons (~$14.5K per). I thought the rationale behind privatizing prisons was to save money?

HB2002, capital outlay appropriations (fact sheet here)

HB2003, budget procedures; budget reconciliation (fact sheet here) - among other things, mandates a reduction in the pay of all state employees, except for electeds (of course) and 13 unpaid furlough days over the next 2+ fiscal years.

HB2004, regulation; budget reconciliation (fact sheet here)

HB2005, general government; budget reconciliation (fact sheet here)

HB2006, criminal justice; budget reconciliation (fact sheet here) - among other things, eliminates the state Department of Juvenile Corrections. Also pawns off a number of short-term state prisoners onto county jail systems and eliminates the state's Sex Offender Monitoring Fund.

HB2007, environment; budget reconciliation (fact sheet here)

HB2008, K-12 education; budget reconciliation (fact sheet here) - increases assistance paid to charter schools, reduces soft capital (books and other classroom supplies) allocations if the sales tax increase passes in May, eliminates soft capital funding if the tax increase fails, eliminates full-day K, bars new school construction.

HB2009, higher education; budget reconciliation (fact sheet here) - eliminates capital outlay funding for community colleges, reduces the amount of money that the state has to provide to fund financial aid at the state's universities.

HB2010, health; budget reconciliation (fact sheet here) - the list is long and ugly here.

HB2011, welfare; budget reconciliation (fact sheet here) - here, too.

HB2012, revenues; budget reconciliation (fact sheet here) - all sorts of fund sweeps and fee and license hikes.

HB2013, accounting expenses tax credit; repeal (fact sheet here)

HCR2001, early childhood development; health; repeal (fact sheet here) - if approved by the voters, would repeal Prop 203 (related to the title of the measure) and sweep any funds into the state's General Fund.

HCR2002, land conservation fund; reversion (fact sheet here) - Sweeps voter-protected funds from the Land Conservation Fund ($123 million dedicated to preservation of open spaces) into the state's General Fund.

The House Appropriations Committee will meet on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. to consider the bills; Senate Approps will also meet at 9:30 to consider their chamber's package of bills.

If this all seems rushed, it should - they're trying to fix this year's budget and pass next year's by Wednesday or Thursday. They seem to be attempting to push this stuff through before anyone can really analyze what they're doing and what the real impacts on Arizonans are.

In short, they (the Rs) want to railroad the budget through before anyone can organize an effective response.

More later...

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