Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
[tnivideo caption=”Another Brick in the Wall: We don’t need no education” credit=”Pink Floyd”]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_bvT-DGcWw[/tnivideo]
In signing Arizona’s devastatingly regressive Teapublican budget, Governor Jan Brewer chose to side with Legislative radicals– rather than the people, the business leaders, the healthcare professionals and hospitals, or the children of Arizona.
The most disturbing part of this whole exercise is her continuation of the BIG LIE that she is protecting education, as she promised to do when she duped Arizona voters into an additional sales tax in 2010 to protect education from the types of cuts she signed into law this week.
“The bottom line is that I’ve been the crusader for education,” Brewer said after the meeting. “I’ve led the charge to protect education. And I’m continuing to try … to protect education as we move through this budget process.” [The Big Lie.]
The governor said, though, nothing Barrett [former CEO of Intel] or anyone said would cause her to back off her proposal to cut university funding, or to scale back another part of her budget which would pare state aid to community colleges by half.
“We are going to do the best job that we can with the dollars that we have to deliver the best education to everyone,” she said, from preschool through college. [The Big Lie, again.]
Senate President Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, also said he has no second thoughts about the deeper education spending cuts his chamber approved.
Now that the budget has been signed, the Governor is trying to apply as much lipstick to that pig as possible. From the Arizona Capitol Times…
Calling it a milestone on Arizona’s road to recovery, Gov. Jan Brewer signed a fiscal year 2012 budget that she said made painful – but necessary – cuts that would protect the state’s fiscal health for years to come.
Brewer acknowledged that many of the budget cuts will be difficult to implement, but said she had done as much as possible to protect priorities like education, public safety and safety-net programs for the vulnerable. [This, of course, is just BS.] She said the budget – Arizona’s first structurally balanced spending plan in several years – would reduce the size and scope of government, while helping the state keep future budgets balanced.
“If Arizona is to reclaim its standing as a national leader in economic growth, its state government must be cost-effective, efficient and fiscally stable,” Brewer wrote today in a letter to House Speaker Kirk Adams and Senate President Russell Pearce. “This budget plan puts the state on the right path in all three categories.” [Thus, totally ignoring what the business leaders told them.]
The budget included $183 million in K-12 education cuts, with $35 million backfilled by federal funds. Brewer acknowledged that the cuts were deeper she wanted … but said the majority of the cuts come from specific programs, such as vocational classes, instead of classroom spending.
“My goal was to avoid severely eroding base support for schools and core education programs. [Repeating another version of the Big Lie.] I believe this budget accomplishes that,” she wrote. [Emphasis added.]
More specifics from AZCentral.com…
Critics have charged the governor with reneging on her promise to protect education, even though they acknowledge Brewer’s proposals were less harmful than those of legislative Republicans.
The Arizona Education Network, a Tucson-based group of education advocates, said Brewer and the Legislature “have violated the public’s trust with these deep cuts.” [Duh. She lied to us.]
In addition to about $150 million in cuts to K-12, the budget reduces university funding by $198 million and takes $70 million from the community-college system.
[Andrei] Cherny, [chair] of the [Arizona] Democratic Party, said that the budget decimates Arizona education and that Democrats will remind voters of that in next year’s elections.
The budget also cuts $50 million from the Department of Economic Security, which provides the state’s safety-net programs, and $53 million from the Department of Health Services.
The budget reduces funds that have kept the state’s parks system on life support; advocates say the cuts mean some parks will have to close.
Arizona’s attack on education reminded me of the classic Pink Floyd video above. The famous “We don’t need no education” line is about 2 minutes. Do Pearce, Brewer, and, of course, Attorney General Tom Horne want Arizona students to march in lock step like the uniformed zombies envisioned by Pink Floyd? You betcha. Citizens who are stupid, poor, and sick are easier to control and more willing to work for pennies.
What they failed to mention in any of the above articles is that cutting funding from healthcare and education means cutting good-paying jobs in the private and public sectors. This is truly government against the people— less education for our children, less healthcare for the poor and the unemployed, fewer jobs, higher unemployment.
When will this downward spiral end?