Thursday, May 28, 2009

Democrats Announce 2010 joint budget solution

Today, Democratic lawmakers announced a practical and comprehensive budget solution that protects children and middle-class families from deep cuts to education and from high tax increases.

Democratic lawmakers’ comprehensive solution:

-Utilizes every federal stimulus dollar available to Arizona
-Implements smart, responsible cuts across state government, including the House slush fund
-Restores necessary funding to education and middle-class families to make our economy thrive
-Responsibly generates revenue, while holding cities, towns and counties harmless from loss of shared revenue and protecting middle-class families from a high tax increase

“It’s almost June and Arizonans are still looking for leadership in this time of economic turmoil,” said Senate Democratic Whip Linda Lopez. “Severe cuts to education and health care services are not the answer. We need real leadership that provides a balanced approach using program cuts, generating future revenues and utilizing federal stimulus money.”

“The Democratic proposal is the only balanced plan that reduces government spending while preserving vital services,” said Sen. Ken Cheuvront. “The plan broadens the sales tax base which allows us to reduce the state sales tax burden from 5 to 3.4 percent, making every day purchases more affordable for Arizona families.”

Please click here for the budget spreadsheet.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Legislative Democrats to hold joint press conference

Legislative Democrats will hold a joint press conference tomorrow (Thursday, May 28) at 10 a.m. in House Room 35/38 (basement).

Legislative Democrats will announce a 2010 joint Democratic comprehensive budget solution.

Please join us.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sen. Landrum Taylor to Host Rally Today at the State Capitol

STATE CAPITOL, Phoenix – Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor, faith leaders and concerned citizens will be holding “The Heat is On” rally tonight at the State Capitol to ask legislators to reject the cuts to the Department of Economic Services in the FY 2010 budget.

Date: Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Time: 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Location: Senate Lawn, State Capitol, 1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix, Ariz.

The Republican FY 2010 budget proposal passed by the Senate Appropriations committee last Wednesday makes $74 million in cuts to the Department of Economic Services, which is a 10.1% reduction in its general fund appropriation.

The majority of these cuts come in the form of an additional $39.4 million lump sum reduction and $23 million in cuts that are continued from the FY 2009 budget. Others include a $4.9 million cut to children’s support services and the addition of drug testing of recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (75% of which are children).

Due to the cuts made in the FY 2009 budget, DES has already stated that it is may not investigate one-hundred percent of potential risk reports it receives. (

ARIZONA STATE SENATE: Schedule for May 25 through May 29, 2009

Updated: Tuesday, May 26 at 12 p.m.

Monday, May 25, 2009
Memorial Day

Tuesday, May 26, 2009
9:30 a.m. Rules

9:45 a.m. Republican Caucus

10:00 a.m. Democrat Caucus

1:00 p.m. Floor

1:30 p.m. Committee on Commerce and Economic Development (not meeting)

2:00 p.m. Committee on Appropriations (Special Session)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009
9:00 a.m. Committee on Healthcare and Medical Liability Reform (not meeting)
Committee on Public Safety and Human Services (not meeting)

9:30 a.m. Rules

9:45 a.m. Caucus

1:00 p.m. Floor (COW and 3rd Read Special Session)

1:30 p.m. Committee on Education Accountability and Reform
Committee on Finance (pending agenda)
Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs (not meeting)

2:00 p.m. Floor (COW and 3rd Read Regular Session)

Thursday, May 28, 2009
9:00 a.m. Committee on Government Institutions (not meeting)
Committee on Retirement and Rural Development (not meeting)

1:00 p.m. Floor

(This schedule is subject to change. Please listen to the floor for committee and floor time announcements. In addition, during various parts of session, COW and Third Read may occur at any floor session. Please watch for floor calendars.]

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Senate Democrats Stand Up for Children and Vulnerable Populations

The Senate Appropriations Committee adjourned after 9 p.m. last night, but Senate Democrats fought back against the cuts made in the Senate Republican budget. Here is coverage by KPNX-TV 12 from Phoenix showing discussion of several Democratic amendments to restore cuts to food banks, domestic violence shelters and Child Protective Services.

Despite all of these cuts approved last night, Governor Jan Brewer and Republicans will call a special session at 1 p.m. to funnel more money into corporations. Sen. Garcia submitted a guest opinion to the Arizona Daily Star regarding this issue. It was published today and you can read it here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Senate Democrats Introduce Amendments to Reverse Damage in Senate Republican Budget

Democratic members in the Senate Appropriations committee introduced a number of amendments in order to reverse the severe damage the Senate Republican budget does on the state and vital services necessary in an economic downturn.

“Once again Republicans have balanced the budget by cutting education and vital services to abused children, the elderly and disabled, yet still give a tax break to big business,” said Sen. Rebecca Rios, Assistant Senate Democratic Leader (D-23). “The Republican budget is short-sighted, reactionary and jeopardizes Arizona.”

“Studies now show one in five young children in Arizona live on the brink of hunger and seniors are choosing between food and medicine, but this budget cuts funding for food banks. This budget makes cuts to domestic violence shelters now when the combined increase in violence and reductions make waiting lists higher than ever,” said Sen. Paula Aboud (D-28). “This budget does not cost-share like it has been claimed. For instance, one agency that helps protect cars, received a one-percent cut while the Department of Health Services received a 17.1 percent cut.”

“The proposal we heard today only balances the budget on the backs of children again. We need to make sure Arizonans are provided the services they need, especially now during this economic downturn,” said Sen. Amanda Aguirre (D-24). “By moving these bills today after only being released late last night, our citizens of the state of Arizona will not have another opportunity to make another statement regarding this budget in a public forum and that is a shame.”

“The leadership we provide in these hard times will be measured by how well we take care of our youth, our elders and our disabled. There are other options and we should look at other options before making these types of cuts,” said Sen. Albert Hale (D-2).

The Senate Republican budget makes $661 million in cuts, uses $153 in payment rollovers and sweeps $393 million from agencies. It utilizes the $737 million in Medicare match rate and $324 from stabilization funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The bills count on $240 million in additional revenue including the sale of three state prisons, unclaimed property and the elimination of Rio Nuevo tax financing. It also counts on $50 million in AHCCCS fraud reduction.

Amendments are described and ordered by agency below. The member’s name who introduced the amendment is in parenthesis.

Arizona Department of Administration: Strike definition of “eligible dependents”: The purpose of adding this new language is to supersede the new state rule approved last year that allowed for domestic partners of state employees, both straight and gay, to qualify for state health insurance coverage. (Aboud)

Agriculture: Restores fund sweeps from the commercial feed fund (14,600), the designated fund (107,800), the fertilizer materials fund (17,300) and the pesticide fund (19,700). (Aguirre)

AHCCCS: Change eligibility for KidsCare back to 200% (Hale)

Office of the Attorney General: Restores general fund and other fund money to the AG’s Office totaling $10.9 million ($6,629,100 in General Fund and $4,242,900 in other funds). (Rios)

Department of Commerce: Restore $931,000 to rural communities through the Greater Arizona Development Authority. (Aguirre)

Department of Corrections:
Restoring dollars for correctional officers personnel reduction – $12,627,700. (Aguirre)
Requires a private prison operating the Perryville, Yuma and Eyman facilities to annually report the average number of prisoners incarcerated and the crime for which each person was convicted. (Aguirre)

Department of Economic Security:
Restores $15,918,700 to support CPS in-home services and out-of-home care. (Aguirre)
Restore dollars to food banks – $167,600 (Aboud)
Restore senior assisted living – $2,061,000 (Aguirre)
Restore domestic violence funds – $2,217,200 (Aboud)
Restores $13,300,000 to DES to fund services to the developmentally disabled and the Arizona Restores Early Intervention Program (AzEIP). (Rios)
Adds 2% to AHCCCS, DES and DHS Medicaid programs to fund medical inflation costs, and eliminates the proposed 5% rate cut for AHCCCS providers. (Aguirre)

Restores $175 million in soft capital cuts to school districts. Soft capital includes technology, textbooks, library resources, instructional aids, pupil transportation vehicles, furniture and equipment. (Rios)
Union representation: Removes anti-union provisions from the bill. (Rios)
These provisions include: Require the removal from the district payroll of union representatives with no further definition, which, while clearly aimed at full-time release association officers, is worded vaguely enough to permit a district to fire any union member, as any member of the organization could be its “representative” at any given time.
Require teachers to pay for their own substitute if they are engaged in lobbying activity. All other public employees are permitted to exercise their first amendment rights as long as they are on their own time.
Eliminate deadlines for notification of the offer of contract and/or reductions in pay.
· Strikes language that permanently repeals the state equalization tax. (Hale)

Department of Health Services:
Restore community health centers in the amount of $2,403,048 (Aguirre)
Restore Non-Title XIX Serious Mental Illness funding and behavioral health (Aboud)
Arnold v. Sarn – (Rios)
The changes in the bill are designed to remove the legal basis of the Arnold v Sarn lawsuit initially filed in 1981 that resulted in the 1985 court order that required DHS to “provide a unified and cohesive system of community health care” for SMI.
These proposed statutory changes, in addition to the elimination of all Non-Title 19 SMI funding in the feed bill, will likely result in no services for the SMI population if not T-19 eligible (i.e. - 100% or the FPL)
This huge policy shift not only unnecessarily targets one of our society’s most vulnerable populations, but is also likely have other huge impacts.

Commission on Indian Affairs: Sweeps $3 million from House balance to fund the Commission on Indian Affairs. The balance would go to the General Fund. (Hale)

Department of Revenue:
Restoring $18,451,300 and 112 FTEs cut from the Department of Revenue to enable DOR the staffing resources necessary to collect taxes owed, potentially increasing state revenue by $150 million. (Aboud)

Restores “auxiliary” fund monies totaling approximately $90 million. (Aboud)
Restore funding for community colleges for operating in the amount of $9,152,000 (Aguirre)

Republicans Put Special Interests Ahead of the State Budget

Governor Jan Brewer and Legislative Republicans will put special interests ahead of the state budget in order to call a special session tomorrow at 1 p.m. The bill will be first read and assigned to committee tomorrow and heard in committee on Tuesday.

Below is an Op-Ed by Sen. Garcia that ran in the East Valley Tribune on Monday.

GOP lawmakers pander again to private schools

Ask any Arizonan on the street these days what the number one priority of lawmakers should be and you will likely get the answer that Senate Democrats would give: budget, budget and budget.

Republican legislative leadership seems to have a different idea. On Thursday, the Arizona Republic reported that Republican legislators are calling on Governor Jan Brewer to hold a special session to expand the scope of the state corporate income tax credit for contributions to private school tuition organizations (STOs).

Expanding STO contributions allows corporations to divert their tax dollars away from the state and into private schools costing the state nearly $12 million in the 2008 fiscal year, and combined with the individual credit, $67.3 million in tax dollars went to private schools last year.
In addition, if the Governor signs the bill by Tuesday, it will be just in time for the Center for Arizona Policy annual fundraiser featuring former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. CAP has stated their support for private school vouchers and made it a top priority. The priority appears to be pandering to right wing conservatives in order to make sure they have something to cheer about at a fundraiser.

Given the statewide outrage over the recent $100-plus million cuts to K-12 and higher education, Arizonans might be startled to know that the state gave away millions in taxpayer dollars to private schools last fiscal year. These funds helped to pay for 29,539 students to attend private schools, according to a new report issued by the Alliance for School Choice. Arizona is No. 1 in giving away private school vouchers and No. 49 in per pupil spending for public education according to the American Legislative Exchange Council. Now, even conservative organizations cannot deny that Arizona is bad at funding public education.

According to Rep. Steve Yarbrough and Sen. Thayer Verschoor, this is still not enough. When Arizona is facing a $3 billion budget shortfall, they would rather focus their energies on protecting a special interest group. In fact, for Yarbrough it is more than a passing interest. He happens to own one of the largest beneficiaries of these tax credits in the state, the Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization. More money for them means more money for him.

This situation speaks for itself regarding Republican priorities in Arizona. We have slashed social services to the bone. Arizonans who need our help are not getting it because of their unwillingness to this point to explore any options besides deep and draconian cuts.
They are, however, willing to place the state further in jeopardy in order to cater to big business and line their own pockets. That this would even be considered, let alone enacted, in times like these is unconscionable.

This proposal says to me that Republican legislative leaders are beholden to their ideology first and the people of Arizona second. This is an ideology that puts the interests of corporations above all else; that believes government has no capacity to do good and therefore must be weakened until it is destroyed.

As they slash away at what is left of Arizona’s social safety net for working families, they flatter themselves by saying that they are the ones brave enough to make the “tough choices” required to save the state.

But “tough choices” have two sides. We are here largely because of a Republican failure to make the “tough choice” to say no to corporations and their unceasing demand for favors from the state.

This course has only one inevitable conclusion: a government that can provide nothing because it has nothing. But hey, those private schools sure will be nice.

Sen. Jorge Luis Garcia (D-27) is the Senate Democratic Leader.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Republican Budget Bill Summary and Spreadsheet

Here is a PDF of the budget bill spreadsheet for the Republican budget bills that will be heard in Appropriations Committee tomorrow.

Here is a PDF of the budget reconcillation bill summary.

FY 2010 Budget to be Heard in Committee Wednesday

It was just announced from the floor today that an Appropriations hearing will be held Wednesday, May 20 at 11 a.m. or upon adjournment of the PSHS committee. for the purpose of hearing the FY 2010 budget bills.

The bills have not been posted yet, so we are unaware of the specific content. We will post links to the bills once they are available.

*SB1027 - technical correction; bonds; tax considerations(Pearce R)
capital outlay; FY 2009-2010 Bill

*SB1028 - technical correction; private funds; disposition(Pearce R)
budget reconciliation; criminal justice Bill

*SB1029 - technical correction; budget estimates(Pearce R)
budget reconciliation; higher education Bill

*SB1031 - tax exemption; technical correction(Pearce R)
budget reconciliation; assets Bill

*SB1035 - school bonds; technical correction(Pearce R)
budget reconciliation; general government Bill

*SB1036 - tax anticipation bonds; technical correction(Pearce R)
budget reconcilciation; general revenues Bill

*SB1145 - technical correction; dry wells; regulation(Allen S)
budget reconciliation; health and welfare Bill

*SB1187 - technical correction; deceptive mailings(Burns)
budget reconciliation; K-12 Bill

*SB1188 - fiduciary funds; deposits; technical correction(Burns)
general appropriations; FY 2009-2010 Bill

*SB1258 - mine inspector; education; training; fees(Allen S)
budget reconciliation; environment Bill

*Strike everything amendment may be offered

Friday, May 15, 2009

Arizona State Senate Schedule for May 18 through May 22, 2009

Updated: May 19, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009
1:00 p.m. Floor
1:30 p.m. Committee on Judiciary (not meeting)
Committee on Natural Resources, Infrastructure and Public Debt (not meeting)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009
9:45 a.m. Republican Caucus (not meeting)
11:00 a.m. Democratic Caucus
1:00 p.m. Floor
1:30 p.m. Committee on Appropriations (meeting Thursday)
Committee on Commerce and Economic Development

Wednesday, May 20, 2009
9:00 a.m. Committee on Healthcare and Medical Liability Reform (not meeting)
10:30 a.m. Committee on Public Safety and Human Services (note time change)
1:00 p.m. Floor
1:30 p.m. Committee on Education Accountability and Reform (not meeting)
Committee on Finance (not meeting)
Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs (not meeting)

Thursday, May 21, 2009
9:00 a.m. Committee on Appropriations
Committee on Government Institutions (not meeting)
Committee on Retirement and Rural Development (not meeting)
1:00 p.m. Floor

[This schedule is subject to change. Please listen to the floor for committee and floor time announcements. In addition, during various parts of session, COW and Third Read may occur at any floor session. Please watch for floor calendars.]

Links are to committees with posted agendas.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Senator McCune Davis Awarded by Arizona Community Action Association

STATE CAPITOL, Phoenix – Today, Sen. Debbie McCune Davis (D-14) was honored with the Legislative Leadership Award by the Arizona Community Action Association at the ACAA's annual conference held at the Phoenix Airport Hilton. This award is given to current or former legislators who show a sustained commitment to help eliminate poverty.

“It is an honor to be awarded for my work by the ACAA. Eliminating poverty is long from over and requires a sustained effort from our entire community,” said Sen. Debbie McCune Davis. “It is our duty to put forth that effort so that every individual can lead a fulfilling life without worrying where the food for the day will come or where they will sleep at night.”

Senator McCune Davis told the audience that the fight to eliminate payday lending is not yet over, in spite of strong voter opposition to the industry written initiative that was defeated in November.

“The payday loan industry will be back this session or next, with another piece of legislation that has all the trappings of consumer protection, but protects their ability to continue to do business in Arizona above the established usury rate for consumer loans.”

Sen. McCune Davis was elected to the House of Representatives in 1978 and served as the Democratic Whip from 1982-1994. She returned to serve in the House from 2002-2005 and was elected to the Senate in 2006. Sen. McCune Davis currently serves on the Commerce and Economic Development, Finance and Rules committees.

“Arizona Community Action Association unites communities to end poverty through community based initiatives and solutions. The Arizona Community Action Association is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit agency created in 1967 to address poverty across Arizona. Through a collaboration of nearly 300 organizations and individuals, ACAA develops and implements strategies to address and ultimately eliminate poverty.” [Source: ACCA]

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Budget Bill Language for Tomorrow's Approps Committees

The House Appropriations committee will also be hearing the two budget fix bills tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.
HB 2028 (S/E: supplemental reductions; appropriations; 2008-2009) (bill)
HB 2029 (S/E: school district balances; allocations) (bill)

Here are the documents for the Senate bills:
SB 1189 (Strike everything amendment to S.B. 1189, relating to supplemental reductions; appropriations; FY 2008-2009) (bill) (fact sheet)

SB 1190 (Proposed Strike-Everything Amendment to S.B. 1190 – relating to state aid for school districts) (bill) (fact sheet)

Budget Fix?

Tomorrow, Senate Appropriations will be meeting at 10 a.m. to consider two bills to "fix" the state’s $650 million shortfall in the FY 2009 budget. The bills are an agreement between Republican legislative leadership and Governor Brewer.

The plan in includes $250 million in stimulus funds, K-12 funds and a university payment rollover.

More to come…

District 29 Legislators Invite Public to Tucson Town Hall

STATE CAPITOL, Phoenix – Sen. Linda Lopez, Rep. Matt Heinz and Rep. Daniel Patterson invite the public to a town hall on Saturday, May 16, 2009 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Eckstrom-Columbus Library, 4350 E. 22nd Street, Tucson, Ariz.

Where: Eckstrom-Columbus Library, 4350 E. 22nd Street, Tucson, Ariz.
When: Saturday, May 16, 2009 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

“It is very important for me to be able to hear from my constituents so I can continue to help represent their interests as we continue in legislative session and the budget process,” said Sen. Linda Lopez, Democratic Whip. “We still do not have a finalized state budget for the fiscal year that begins in less than 60 days. This means that many entities funded by state dollars, like schools and services for vulnerable populations, have less and less time to prepare for the next fiscal year.”

"The Governor and legislative majority leaders must get to work seriously on a fair state budget. There are many options on the table and people need to be involved to get their legislature to act," Rep. Daniel Patterson said. "At our next town hall, I will continue to listen to my constituents' ideas about budget and revenue reform options, and take those views back to my colleagues at the capitol."

"Our most important job as a State Legislature is to pass a state budget," said Rep. Matt Heinz, a member of the House Appropriations Committee which oversees budget issues. "Protecting the interests of Tucson - its families, education system at all levels and business community - is my first priority. I hope that people in the community will take the time to attend the town hall and make sure their voice is heard."

Monday, May 11, 2009

Arizona State Senate: Schedule for May 11 through May 15, 2009

Updated May 11, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009
1:00 p.m. Floor
1:30 p.m. Committee on Judiciary (not meeting)
Committee on Natural Resources, Infrastructure and Public Debt

Tuesday, May 12, 2009
9:45 a.m. Republican Caucus (not meeting)
10:00 a.m. Democrat Caucus (not meeting)
1:00 p.m. Floor
1:30 p.m. Committee on Appropriations (not meeting)
Committee on Commerce and Economic Development (not meeting)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009
9:00 a.m. Committee on Healthcare and Medical Liability Reform
Committee on Public Safety and Human Services (not meeting)
1:00 p.m. Floor
1:30 p.m. Committee on Education Accountability and Reform (not meeting)
Committee on Finance (not meeting)
Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs (not meeting)

Thursday, May 14, 2009
9:00 a.m. Committee on Government Institutions (not meeting)
Committee on Retirement and Rural Development (not meeting)
1:00 p.m. Floor

This schedule is subject to change. Please listen to the floor for committee and floor time announcements. In addition, during various parts of session, COW and Third Read may occur at any floor session. Please watch for floor calendars.]

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Governor Brewer FLIP-FLOPS on Protecting Education and other Vital Services

In early March, Governor Jan Brewer seemed to stand up for children against the Republican Legislative Leadership’s proposed cuts to education and children’s services.

"We cannot place all of the burden on our children and their schools. We cannot place all of the burden on the parents that need day care so they can go to work and stay off welfare. We cannot leave the sick on the streets alone to fend for themselves only to overload our hospitals and our jails." [Source: Arizona Daily Star, March 6, 2009]
That was two months ago. Here is what she is saying now.

"I think we're going to have to do more cutting," she said. And Brewer said she is now fully engaged in negotiations with Senate President Bob Burns and House Speaker Kirk Adams, both adamant foes of any tax hike. [Source: East Valley Tribune, May 7, 2009]
How much more cutting does she want? We have several yardsticks to measure what Republican cuts to the budget might look like for Fiscal Year 2010.

*The House Republican budget proposal voted out of the House Appropriations committee on May 5 contained over $649 million in cuts.
*The Republican Joint Draft Budget Proposal released April 27 contained over $670 million in cuts.
*The Senate Republican budget proposal released April 3 contained over $842 million in cuts.
*The Republican Chairmen’s Options released January 16 contained over $2.2 billion in cuts ($891 million in K-12 cuts alone).
None of these proposals help the people of Arizona or move Arizona forward. Rather, these cuts harm our children and do nothing to protect our state’s most vulnerable populations.

If this were not enough, check out what the cuts would do to children’s services according to the cuts in the April 27 Republican joint draft budget proposal.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Budget Spreadsheet Released

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee has posted a new spreadsheet for the House Republican Budget Plan to be considered today at 10 a.m. in the House Appropriations Committee. A snapshot of the summary is below.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Budget Bill Summary

A summary of the budget bills has just been posted to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee website.

Budget Bills are Out!

The House has posted budget bills to be heard in tomorrow's House Appropriations meeting at 10 a.m. Links to a PDF of each bill are provided below. Use caution before hitting "print" as the bills are quite lengthy.

general appropriations; 2009-2010
(Kavanagh: Adams, McComish, et al)

2009-2010 capital outlay
(Yarbrough: Adams, Kavanagh, et al)

2009-2010 budget reconciliation; revenues
(Yarbrough: Adams, Kavanagh, et al)

2009-2010 budget reconciliation; general government
(Yarbrough: Adams, Kavanagh, et al)

state properties; 2009-2010 budget reconciliation
(Yarbrough: Adams, Kavanagh, et al)

2009-2010 budget reconciliation; criminal justice
(Adams: Kavanagh, McComish, et al)

2009-2010 budget reconciliation; K-12 education
(Tobin: Adams, Kavanagh, et al)

2009-2010 budget reconciliation; higher education
(Tobin: Adams, Kavanagh, et al)

2009-2010 budget reconciliation; health; welfare
(Tobin: Adams, Kavanagh, et al)

2009-2010 budget reconciliation; environment
(Adams: Kavanagh, McComish, et al)

Friday, May 1, 2009

GOP Message to the Poor: You have too much time on your hands

Republicans believe that people hit the hardest by the economic downturn are dependent and have too much time on their hands.

“We’re faced with the reality that government has created a dependent class of people, wrote Sen. Pamela Gorman in a FOX News blogpost.

“The entitlement class is scared, motivated, and loud. And, they have a lot of time on their hands while most of us are at work.”

The 7.8% of Arizonans who are currently unemployed might be shocked to know that people charged with representing them at the legislature look down upon them. In addition, last we checked, the First Amendment still provided for freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.

The Republican majority is becoming largely out of touch with Arizonans who have lost their jobs due to the downturn in the economy. They are now faulting Arizonans for having lost their jobs and typecast their ability to be angry that they are unemployed.

Notice from the GOP: Find a job, do not expect help while you are down and do not complain to us about being unemployed.