Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Statement from Arizona Reps Benally and Hale on the recent budget vote

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Jennifer D. Benally, D-Tuba City (District 7), and Rep. Albert Hale, D-St. Michaels (District 7), released this statement in response to the budget that the Legislature passed on May 4, 2016: 

“We are disappointed in this budget because we do not believe it fulfills our obligation to our community, especially to the children in our district. We wanted to restore $116 million for classroom resources, so our schools could get updated text books and technology, but Republicans refused to consider that as an option.

“We also pushed to reinstate KidsCare, a program that would provide federally funded insurance for about 30,000 low-income kids statewide, including 1,176 children in Legislative District 7. Unfortunately, partisan politics was more important than providing healthcare for thousands of kids, so this effort also failed. As did our attempts to revive child care subsidies for working families and to extend the cap on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families from 12 months back to 24 months. 

“Many of our Democratic colleagues stood in solidarity with us as we fought to get an additional $1.5 million, for a total of $3 million, to improve Hopi 60 Highway. This route connects the Navajo and Hopi nations, and nearly 14 miles of it is unpaved. It becomes dangerous to travel during inclement weather which affects emergency services, economic development and academic transportation. The money would be used to make the road safer, but even that was blocked by partisan politics. 

“Although the budget process was frustrating, we were not discouraged. It is an honor to stand together with our colleagues and to be the voice of our communities at the Legislature. We will continue to do so for the rest of the session.”