Friday, February 26, 2016

Strengthen the Economy and Keep Arizona Beautiful

Arizona’s natural beauty is undeniably impressive. We have the Grand Canyon, one of the Seven Wonders of the World right here. We’re also fortunate to have a number of state and national parks that provide countless opportunities for Arizonans and tourists to experience the unique beauty of our state.

Although our natural resources are abundant, we must still protect them. It is incumbent upon all of us to be responsible stewards of the air, water, land and cultural heritage that contribute to our economy.

Legislative Democrats have a plan to ensure the future of our natural resources. First, we want to invest $20 million for one-time capital improvements to state parks. Our state parks contributed $226 million to the economy in 2014 and supported 2,367 jobs throughout the state.[1]This one-time money will be a down payment to restore and revitalize our park system, ensuring that the parks continue to be economic drivers for the state and to protect our environmental and cultural heritage into the future.

Legislative Democrats also propose investing $3 million for forest fire prevention and $5 million to protect our water supply by restoring funding for the Water Quality Assurance Revolving Fund (WQARF). This fund protects access to safe drinking water and promotes responsible stewardship of this critical resource.

Additionally, Legislative Democrats want to restore $3 million to the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR). The agency is in charge of ensuring our state has sufficient water supplies to support growth, and its funding has been slashed since 2008. Funding ADWR at the appropriate level is important to ensure we have professionals protecting Arizona’s share of water for farmers, cities and towns.

By reinvesting in our natural resources we can make sure our economy has a foundation from which to grow and that the state remains a beautiful place to live. To see a copy of the Legislative Democratic proposals to protect our natural resources, click here. To see a summary of the Democrats’ full, five-step plan for moving Arizona forward, click here.