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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


What you missed this break

New governor, same budget cuts

In Gov. Doug Ducey’s speech at his swearing-in on Jan. 5, he said critics would argue “that the state has already found all the savings that can be found, cut every line item that can be cut.” But, Ducey assured us, he will not sign any bill that raises taxes. The $1 billion budget shortfall for fiscal year 2015 will still, somehow, have to be covered through new cuts to state programs.

This might seem like an odd assertion considering that, according to the Private Enterprise Research Center, Arizona is already in the bottom five nationally for healthcare funding and spends less per pupil on our schools than any other state, as noted by the National Education Association.

But in a way, Ducey is right: There is still fat to be trimmed in the budget.

Arizona spends 40 percent more on prisons than it does on universities, in part because of a unique law requiring even non-violent offenders in the state to serve 85 percent of their sentences. According to a 2012 study from the Vera Institute of Justice, a $1 billion dollar prison budget in Arizona relies on a contribution of over $1000 from each taxpayer. Arizona has spent more than a billion dollars on prisons every year since 2010.

If Ducey insists on continuing the trend of draconian budget cuts, he may be forced to target an area of spending that has remained sacrosanct in the state legislature.

No means no, Mitt Romney

Our favorite perennial candidate announced on Jan. 9 that he is likely to run for president in 2016. After all, the third time is the charm.

Perhaps Romney is looking to Nixon as his inspiration, who lost to Kennedy in 1960 but secured the presidency in 1968. Or perhaps Romney should learn that any parallel political reporters can draw to Nixon is not going to serve him well.

Politico has reported that Romney is keeping most of his old staff, leading many Republican donors to question how much he has learned from his old mistakes. And, of course, there’s always the threat that Romney will change his message so much that the old “Flip-Flop Mitt” characterization will gain new strength.

Thank God for small blessings, though — Romney’s running-mate, Paul Ryan, has announced unequivocally that he won’t seek a nomination next year.

Palestine goes to court

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rang in the New Year by signing the Rome statute, officially joining the International Criminal Court. Palestine’s membership in the ICC will enable it to bring war crimes charges against Israel and subjects the Palestinian leadership to similar charges.

The United States called the move “an escalatory step” and threatened sanctions. But Israel acted immediately, withholding the $127 million in Palestinian tax dollars that Israel owed the Palestinian Authority for December.

Under the Paris Protocol of 1994, Israel agreed to collect and remit West Bank taxes to the PA. Israel’s choice to respond to threats of legal action by breaking an international, legally-binding treaty is odd, but Abbas’ choice to ignore the consequences and move forward demonstrates the hopelessness that has overtaken most Palestinians about a peaceful, negotiated solution to the conflict. If Israel and the U.S. aren’t able to reign in this despair, they will find themselves with much bigger problems than a summons to the Hague.

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