How's That Recovery Working Out, State of Arizona?
Call me crazy but "we face a state fiscal crisis of unparalleled dimension, one that is going to sweep over every single person in this room, as well as every business, every family, every Arizonan" sounds a tad like panic, not this recovery I keep hearing about.
Over the weekend Arizona state lawmakers approved a budget for fiscal year 2010. Governor Jan Brewer said that these are, "the worst financial days ever." Arizona still faces a $1.5 billion dollar deficit this year, and a projected $3.4 billion dollar shortfall next fiscal year. The bill contained $193 million in funding cuts to reduce state services and state salaries. "We face a state fiscal crisis of unparalleled dimension, one that is going to sweep over every single person in this room, as well as every business, every family, every Arizonan," Brewer said.
Still more significant budget-cut plans are under way or being considered: 5 percent pay cuts for state workers and assessing surcharges for mental-health care in the state's public-health system. Brewer also says Arizona could make up millions by taking non-violent illegal immigrants out of state prisons and turning them over to ICE for deportation. "the cost of imprisoning illegals should be a federal burden, not the state's responsibility", said Brewer.
The Governor has ordered Corrections Director Charles Ryan to return non-violent illegal immigrants in the state's prison system to federal custody. Ryan acknowledged the state already has a policy to release these inmates for deportation when they have served half of their sentence. But, he added, "we're going to take a much more thorough review" of the process.
Know what that means, right? Of course you do.