Monday, March 16, 2015

Arizona House Minority Leader Dr. Eric Meyers Says:Where do we go from here?

Gov. Ducey calls the budget he signed Thursday "fiscally responsible," and one that "protects taxpayers."

I disagree. This is a cruel budget. It betrays children, the working poor, and the most vulnerable in our communities.

Funding for the new Dept. of Child Safety has been reduced, childcare assistance for our working poor slashed, and eligibility for food subsidies limited to just one year. Access to healthcare will be diminished because fewer doctors will treat the poor and hospitals in rural parts of the state may close, due to the 5 percent cut to Medicaid providers and the subsequent loss of hundreds of millions of federal matching dollars.

The cuts to education have been well publicized. Since the recession began in 2008, we have been reducing funding for K-12 public schools, community colleges and state universities. These new cuts go even deeper. To save money, school districts are now considering four-day school weeks, and Arizona's Board of Regents may sue the state for ignoring its constitutional obligation to adequately fund our universities.

So where do we go from here?

We fight back. The Legislature is still in session. Bills that extend tax credits and vouchers may pass. Gun bills with unfunded mandates could be signed into law. The same legislators who signed onto a budget deal that funds prisons and corporate tax cuts at the expense of education are supporting bills now, that if passed will further reduce revenue to the General Fund. Tell them we are holding them accountable for their votes.

And we look to the 2016 elections. We are recruiting candidates now and we will provide them the resources they need to win. Our goal? Adding six seats in the House or three seats in the Senate will enable those of us who support funding public education to control the debate - and the budget. Donate here to stop the Governor.

Only with a well-educated workforce will our state prosper. Cutting taxes and shrinking government have left us lagging the nation in our economic recovery. Median incomes are stagnant, and in January, 43,300 jobs were lost. Our economy will thrive when it serves some purpose again beyond putting dollars in the pockets of fewer and fewer people. Only when we return to the kinds of investments that improve the lives of the many will Arizona see the brighter future we all know is possible.

Whatever you are able to donate now will help us elect pro-education candidates in 2016. The campaign has begun. We are organizing a statewide effort. Your donations will be well used.

As always, thank you for your continued support.

Dr. Eric Meyer
House Minority Leader
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