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Op-Ed: The 2012 State Budget

03 May 2012   Speaker Andy Tobin
Speaker of the House Andy Tobin reflects on this year's budget.

Republicans passed a budget this week and, as usual, we did so without the help of Democrats. Despite the fact that we made no cuts in essential services while providing $150 million for statewide K-12 education funding, $21 million for universities and $100 million for health & welfare programs, there never seems to be enough spending to satisfy all their demands. In retrospect, our state budget received more overall Democrat support than President Obama’s proposed budget did among Democrats. Unlike the hopelessly ineffective Democrat controlled US Senate, we pass prompt, responsible and balanced budgets.

Sadly, Arizona House Democrats were overtaken by partisan zeal this week and voted against participating in the great Arizona recovery. They opposed a budget of increased spending that invests in Arizona and our most vulnerable while making no painful cuts.

Many of the Democrats who voted against this budget chastised Republicans for not investing in education. Yet many of those same Democrats opposed sending the 1 cent sales tax to the voters. Aside from that hypocrisy, I continue to be fascinated by how the press instinctively accepts Democrat talking points at face value rather than looking into their validity before reporting them as facts.

The Obama Administration cut $40 million in Federal spending for social services in Arizona. In reaction to those cuts, the Republican Budget supplemented the program with $40 million in order to help protect our state’s most needy citizens. I find it interesting, however, that no one in the press is portraying Obama as heartless for making those cuts. They seem content to focus on finding more issues with which to continue their blind attacks on Republicans.

The Democrats left a legacy of irresponsible fiscal policies at the state capitol so it was left to Republicans to clean up the mess. This pales in comparison to the fiscal disaster that Mitt Romney will have to take on after President Obama is out of office. Americans should not and will not vote for a candidate, or party, that places partisan special interests above passing a budget which our ailing economy so desperately needs. Allowing more than 1,000 days to pass without a budget is the mark of a party that holds extreme contempt for the needs of the American people and has no concept of responsible fiscal behavior.

Here in Arizona, Republicans responsibly paid down debt, invested in the future and wisely contributed to a rainy day fund. This last step was taken to mitigate the effects that the irresponsible fiscal policies of the Federal Government are sure to have on our state. While we are not perfect, the House Republicans have proven themselves to be thoughtful, caring and responsible stewards of state resources. I am proud of my fellow Republicans for having ensured the success of the Great Arizona recovery. Democrats, however, will have to dwell on the fact that when it came time to repair the disastrous fiscal situation, they responded with partisan banter and, contrary to the best interests of all Arizonans, they voted No, again.