Wednesday, March 04, 2015

AZ state budget process: Don't blink, or you'll miss it

...Actually, even if you keep your eyes open and focused on the Capitol, you'll still miss it.

Because it is deliberately concealed from public view.

News broke last night that the governor and the leadership of the legislature have worked out a budget deal.

And it is far worse for the people of Arizona than the s--t sandwich proposed by Governor Doug Ducey in January.

As of this writing (Wednesday evening), nothing is on the lege's website as yet.  However, a number of news stories from AZ's political press corps are already up.

From Brahm Resnik of Phoenix' Channel 12, on -
The state budget is getting worse – much worse – for Arizona's universities and community colleges.

A budget deal between GOP Gov. Doug Ducey and Republican legislative leaders would cut even deeper than the budget Ducey proposed in January, according to budget memos obtained Wednesday by 12 News.

Resnik's article has a link to a .pdf summary of the proposed budget.

The budget that has apparently been agreed to is so bad that the editorial board of the Arizona Republic, normally a group that mindlessly parrots the drivel spewed by the Rs at the Capitol, has already editorialized against it here.

From State Sen. Steve Farley's Facebook page:

Just got out of budget meeting in the Senate. The bills they are trying to pass have a whole lot for me to write about, but here are the toplines:
--> Cuts to hospital and provider rates for those providing care to Medicaid / AHCCCS patients total $127 million over two years which mean a loss of another $588 million in federal matching funds from Arizona's economy over that time.

--> K-12 schools are cut $98 million in FY16 and another $157 million in FY17.
--> community colleges in Pima, Pinal, and Maricopa Counties are zeroed out completely from state funding.
--> Universities are cut 14% for a $104 million cut in FY16.
--> JTED programs are cut by $30 million in FY17.
--> TUSD is singled out for a $8 - $15 million hit annually from elimination of the 1% prop tax cap which may lead to higher prop taxes.
--> $10 million cuts to the Department of Child Safety.
--> $360 million left untouched in the Rainy Day fund
--> and no discussion of suspending the remaining $883 million in corporate tax giveaways that will go into effect in the next three years or the $12.6 billion in special interest sales tax loopholes.

By the looks of things, the leadership of the lege is looking to cram this steaming pile of ugly by Saturday, but there is already a protest/rally scheduled for Thursday at the Capitol to protest the cuts to the state's education system (it was planned in response to Ducey's proposed savaging of the system, so now the timing seems almost prescient)

From the event's Facebook page

The time: 4:15 p.m.
The place: Arizona State Capitol, 1700 West Washington Street, Phoenix

Parking is available at the Wesley Bolin Plaza (east of the lege complex) or in the parking lot of the Executive Tower (west of the lege complex).

Be there.

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