Kids Advocate: More Cuts Threaten Arizona’s Recovery
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
PHOENIX - Advocates for Arizona families are troubled by recent remarks made by Gov. Jan Brewer about the state's budget crisis. In her State of the State speech, the governor announced several job creation initiatives, as well as plans for further substantial cuts in state spending.
Dana Naimark, director of the Children's Action Alliance, says more cuts to programs such as child care subsidies may actually hinder an eventual economic recovery.
"You can create all the job training programs in the world, but if parents don't have a place to take their kids while they go to job training, who is going to fill those jobs?"
State programs for children's health care and child care subsidies have already been closed to new enrollment as the result of previous budget cuts. Education has also taken a major hit, according to Naimark, who says these cuts are putting the next generation at risk.
"We have to be paying attention to how safe kids are, how healthy they are, and how they're learning. We've gone backwards in all of those areas with the budget cuts."
The state is being shortsighted in cutting children's programs when the eventual goal is a healthy economy, she adds.
"Kids' education, health care and safety really are part of economic development. We need to start thinking of it as a whole package and not as choices of either/or. Kids need to be healthy and families need to be strong in order for our economy to thrive."
Arizona faces a projected $5-billion deficit over the remainder of this budget year and the next. More specifics on the governor's plans will come later this week when she unveils her budget proposal. Naimark believes state lawmakers and the governor should consider new revenue sources and more borrowing in order to maintain essential programs for children and their families.
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