Saturday, August 20, 2011

Brewer touts federal grant...

...and does it without acknowledging the feds or even the fact that it fills in a gaping hole in the budget priorities of her and the legislature...

Earlier this week, Governor Jan Brewer issued a press release touting the receipt of an $11,894,000 grant from the federal Centers for Disease Control, (CDC) money intended to buttress Arizona's ability to respond to a public health emergency.

In her press release, she glossed over the fact that the CDC is a federal agency...OK, she totally ignored that fact...and is now officially called the "Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

But this post isn't meant to point out the deceptive, petty, and yes, lazy aspects of her press release.

Nope, it's meant to point out a sad fact.

The nearly $12 million that the feds just sent AZ to help it respond to and communicate about public health emergencies outstrips the money that Arizona spends on (from SB1612, this year's General Appropriations, aka "budget", bill) -

- the entire appropriation for the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs ($5.169,300)

- the appropriation for the AZ Department of Administration's appropriation for public safety communications ($542,000)

- the Department of Health Services appropriation for poison control centers ($990,000)

- the Department of Economic Security's appropriation for "community and emergency services" ($3,724,000)

- even the entire allowed "Governor's emergency funds" authorization in ARS  35-192, which is capped at $4,000,000 (not an appropriation. If she deems it to be necessary, she can expend up to that amount of unrestricted general fund monies per fiscal year.  For example, she just authorized the expenditure of $50K to aid Tombstone as a result of some flooding issues there.)

There aren't any budget line items specifically for public health emergencies or communications related to the same.

I'm sure that any Brewer administration or legislative insiders who read this will protest that money currently designated for other uses could be reappropriated in the event of an emergency, but the fact remains that they refuse to adequately prepare for emergencies.

My question is:  What does it say about the priorities of Arizona's electeds when the feds put more money toward addressing public health emergencies than the people who are supposed to be dedicated to Arizona do?

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