Friday, January 15, 2016

Ducey plan has small hits, big misses

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate and House Democratic leaders released statements on Governor Ducey’s 2017 budget proposal.

House Democratic Leader Eric Meyer:
Rep. Meyer
“Governor Ducey does a good job of covering up the glaring lack of substance in his proposal with bold claims to get attention. In actuality, his budget does nothing to improve education in Arizona,” said Rep. Meyer.

“Despite widespread, bipartisan support for restoring money to career and technical education programs, the governor plans to strangle them with red tape by forcing them into a bureaucratic grant scheme. These programs improve graduation rates and increase employment opportunities. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it; just fund it.

“He again illustrates his true priorities by planning to provide more money for prisons than for universities. And the governor’s budget for K-12 education does nothing to solve the teacher retention, mentoring and recruitment problems in our public schools.  The executive budget fails to offer real solutions to real problems.”

Senate Democratic Leader Katie Hobbs:
Sen. Hobbs
“Governor Ducey’s proposed budget has some wise investments but does not go far enough in areas of critical need. We are pleased to see investments in areas like vocational rehabilitation, adult preventive dental and a community correction center in Maricopa County that will help offenders adjust to life out of prison,” said Sen. Hobbs.

“However, we are disappointed to see the status quo maintained at DCS. The failures there are systemic from the top down, with caseloads at historically high levels and staff morale at historically low levels, yet this budget ignores recommendations from independent experts and stakeholders on how to keep kids safe. The funds proposed to address the backlog simply aren’t enough to solve the problems and come with no accountability to ensure the funds are spent effectively.

“This budget provides no new money for preventive services, like restoring TANF and eliminating the child care wait list, that are proven to keep kids in their homes and out of the system in the first place. It appears that Governor Ducey’s staff spent more time and energy into putting together a $31.5 million border strike force that nobody wants than finding a solution to our state’s child safety crisis.

“We hope that the governor and Republican leaders will acknowledge that they serve all Arizonans, not just Republicans, and engage in meaningful discussions on reasonable changes to this budget that will protect Arizona’s children, help those in need and position our state to excel economically and improve quality of life for everyone.”

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