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Education Will Suffer Due To Arizona's Budget Deficit

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 Beatuofa posted a link to an article over in the FanPosts section regarding this issue, and I wanted to take a little time out of my day to put in my two cents.

The universities of the state of Arizona should not have to pay for the state legislature's sins. Running a state poorly and with reckless abandon has put Arizona in a quagmire of massive budget shortfalls and looming deficits. As a people, Arizonans should be outraged at the mishandling of a job we freely elected leaders to undertake professionally and with integrity.

Now, as a way to curtail spending and rein in the budget deficit, lawmakers intend to cut $1.5 billion from education, from kindergarten through the university level, just in this year's budget.

The Arizona Board of Regents called the proposal to cut nearly $500 million from university budgets over the next year and a half "cataclysmic in the depth and breadth of devastation they will cause to our higher-education system in Arizona."

For the current-budget year, university spending cuts would be the largest contributor to the budget solution: 16 percent of the total, according to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

The word "catacylsmic" is rarely used, due to its gravity, magnitude, and significance. However, in this situation it is fitting.

There's not much left to cut unless we really want to get draconian," said Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

But Democrats said the plans are already draconian and will push Arizona further down in the ranks of states trying to compete for the best talent.

"These cuts to education will set us back competitively, both regionally and nationally," said House Minority Whip Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix.

The plans, written by Kavanagh and his Senate counterpart, Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, are the first glimpse of how legislative leaders propose to deal with the budget deficits. The proposals, which are short on details, capped a week of exclusive focus by lawmakers on the state budget. Arizona's current budget is $1.6 billion out of balance and is projected to run a $3 billion deficit next year unless lawmakers take steps to close it.

Why, in times of crisis, are education and health care the first sectors of our budgets deemed "extraneous"? We live in a society that can only improve itself through broader knowledge and healthier lives. Cutting back on education and health care is a big slap in the face to Arizona's youth, telling them their future doesn't matter as long as the present remains viable.

The shortsightedness of this entire budget reduction is astounding, and I am appalled over the very strong disregard for the future of Arizona.

Yesterday, rallies were held on the campuses of Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University. While turnouts were woefully small in comparison to the size of the student body, we can accept the lack of time to get the word out as a logical reason, not to mention the historic Inauguration of Barack Obama taking precedence.

In the end, this site is a reflection of the university it covers. Since my own university shall be crippled by the potential budget, I must stand up in this public forum and denounce that very possibility.

Without action, we are left with a government that is unresponsive to the people. Without protests, we are giving the state legislature a mandate to use cameras on our highways, force compulsory removal of license plate vanity frames, and slash the funds that go towards our state's self improvement. Every day, I see Arizona sliding further into the abyss, and the only way out is through the action of the people. Stand up, Arizona. Do not give in to the fascist possibilities that stand before us. This is still our land, and we deserve better.

The Fascist conception of the State is all-embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value. Thus understood, Fascism is totalitarian, and the Fascist State—a synthesis and a unit inclusive of all values—interprets, develops, and potentiates the whole life of a people.

- Benito Mussolini

Call your representative. He or she needs to know this is not an acceptable course of action for our state. The link provided will give you the list of the entire legislature. Finally, here is the link to ASU's budget cuts page, where they maintain that the acts of the legislature would be unconstitutional. Please read carefully.