This week Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer criticized her state’s Republicans for a budget proposal that she said included severe cuts to the state’s education and social programs that “are not in the best interest of Arizona.”
Brewer continued her line during a speech in Prescott Valley, warning Republicans on Tuesday that “we don’t need quick cuts just because it sounds good,” the Arizona Republic reported.
It’s not like Brewer’s budget is not without severe cuts to education and public welfare programs. Brewer’s own budget plan includes $170 million in cuts from the state’s higher education funds, but the Republican-controlled Senate response, which was approved last week, threw on another $65 million in cuts on top of that. She also called for $72 million in cuts to K-12 education, which became $242 million in cuts in Senate Republicans’ hands. In all, Senate Republicans proposed cutting $536 million in cuts over the $1 billion in cuts Brewer had already asked for. They also opposed an “overnight loan” of $330 million which Brewer introduced to help close Arizona’s gaping $543 million deficit for the rest of the 2011 budget.
“Budget cuts should not devastate our state priorities of public safety, education and assistance for the most needy,” Brewer wrote in an op-ed on Sunday. “While I am willing to consider additional budget cuts in partnership with our stakeholders and legislators, these cuts cannot be imposed according to some arbitrary standard that is counterproductive in the long term. We can’t forget that a high-achieving education system is critical to our long-term economic health.”
Over the last two years Arizona education has been cut by $200 million.
Brewer is no stranger to severe cuts–at the end of last year she made headlines for calling for cuts to Medicaid which would make low-income people waiting for transplants ineligible for support. Two people have since died. Brewer’s latest budget proposal would kick 120,000 people off of Medicaid–an improvement over the 280,000 originally slated to be left without medical care.
Brewer warned that the Senate GOP’s drastic plan would not necessarily eliminate costs, they would simply pass them on to local and county governments to deal with.