Monday, April 6, 2009

A Tale of Two Cities, One Set of Figures and a Windmill - By Mark R. Kerr

It was the worst of times and the worst times when a press conference was called in Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital by the House Republicans, who were to unveil their “budget alternative” to the financial proposals set forth by President Obama.

House Republican’s leader, Representative John Boehner of Ohio, opened the delayed press gaggle by stating “Here it is Mr. President,” responding to President Obama’s call challenging the GOP to draft an alternate budget instead of simply criticizing his version.

Called “the Republican Road to Recovery,” the GOP’s, pretty blue, pamphlet was 19 pages long, with no figures and a had a picture of a windmill.

Flash forward a few days and a couple of time zones to a land also in financial trouble, Phoenix, Monday, March 30, when the Arizona House Democrats unveiled a proposed budget for the state.

Unlike the U.S. House Republican leadership, the Arizona Democrats plan is a comprehensive responsible solution that restores cuts to children, middle-class families, education and the developmentally disabled, stops tax giveaways to big corporations and utilizes every federal stimulus dollar for Arizona, containing actual figures but no windmill pictures.

In the Arizona House Democrats’ budget proposal, online at, it will:

Utilize the maximum of the federal stimulus funding that is available to Arizona in 2010;

Clean up government waste by stopping tax giveaways to big corporations and closing corporate tax loopholes;

Implement smart, responsible cuts across state government, including in our own House of Representatives and restore necessary funding to education and middle-class families that makes our economy thrive.

“It is key to our economic recovery and stability that we invest in education so that our children are competitive in the global economy,” said Assistant House Democratic Leader Kyrsten Sinema, in a statement. “House Democrats’ traveled around the state listening to Arizonans’ concerns about deep cuts to the state budget and we developed a comprehensive budget plan that will move Arizona forward to a brighter future.”.

“The House Democrats' 2010 budget proposal prioritizes the issues that are most important to Arizonans. The proposal returns funding to universities, prevents further cuts to K-12 education, restores funding to keep parks open, and minimizes or eliminates cuts to AHCCCS, DES and DHS going forward (due to the severe cuts they previously suffered in 09),” state Representative Matt Heinz, D-Tucson commented. “While some cuts to agencies were necessary, we made them surgically instead of haphazardly to decrease the impact on our citizens. The overall package is a carefully crafted, common sense, and holistic approach to an unprecedented economic crisis in our state.”

“Funding for this plan will cost the average Arizona household less than $8 per month,” wrote state Representative Steve Farley, D-Tucson. “The Governor's outline proposal of a $1 billion temporary sales tax would cost that same average Arizona household more than $30 a month. And her outline calls for twice the program cuts as our (House Democrats) proposal.”

To read their plan, longer that 19 pages, and responsible proposals but no pictures of windmills and no ideas like moving all prisons to Mexico, cutting off funding to cities or wholesale firings of teachers, go online to

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