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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Shelton hopes for Federal trickle down

    The Arizona Legislature has made “”questionably quick”” movements toward approving a Republican backed plan to solve Arizona’s budget deficit.

    Following the student protest Wednesday at the state capitol, The Associated Press reported that Gov. Jan Brewer called the Arizona Legislature into special session after Republican legislative leaders assured her that they had worked out a plan and had enough votes to get it approved.

    The proposed plan calls for large budget cuts from the university system – $142 million – which is substantially more then the $100 million proposal from the Arizona Board of Regents suggested on Jan. 26.

    UA President Robert Shelton thought the cut of $100 million was a logical compromise to the argument of how to settle the budget; the discussion of even higher cuts to Arizona’s universities has left him perplexed.

    “”$142 million is of course much more difficult for us,”” Shelton said. “”40 percent of that number that is our cut – $57 million instead of the $40 million we were looking at. It’s going to be hard.””

    UA College Republican President Ry Ellison believes that these massive cuts are a necessary evil in the present situation of a $1.6 billion shortfall for fiscal year 2009.

    “”I understand that we are the party of fiscal restraint and responsibility,”” Ellison said. “”I support the governor and the budget cuts. Cuts have to be made in all aspects including education. These hard decisions have to be made.””

    According to The Associated Press, legislative Democrats opposed the Republican’s plan.

    Sen. Rebecca Rios, D-Apache Junction, said the Republicans’ willingness to cut education funding pointed out their obvious priorities.

    Rios said the plan shows a complete neglect for the other options on the table – not only cuts to higher education.

    Shelton said that the government stimulus package, which amounts to about $1 billion, should be used where it was intended – on education.

    “”There is still a lot of federal money that will come and I hope legislature will allow that money into education,”” Shelton said. “”Our people are paying taxes to Washington, so we should get our share of those Washington taxes back to help Arizonans.””

    Associated Students of the University of Arizona President Tommy Bruce agreed with Shelton’s claim that the Republican Party is doing a disservice to Arizona if they do not take into account other options of how to save funds.

    “”When you look across the country, there are other states that are holding education harmless because they see what a value it is,”” Bruce said. “”Then you look at our state legislature and we see that they do not value education in any way, shape or form when it has proven time and time again to be the driving force of the economy and of the state in general.””

    Planned evening floor sessions for the full House and Senate to consider the proposals were postponed until today.

    According to The Associated Press, Senate President Bob Burns, R-Peoria, said there were unspecified “”loose ends”” that required last-minute negotiations by legislative leaders.

    He said the plan remained on track to gain approval by the weekend deadline that legislative Republicans had previously established.

    Bruce said that the student protest at the state capitol on Wednesday was an absolute success, and it stirred thoughts on why Republicans are hurrying to get the budget plan passed.

    “”I don’t think it is a coincidence that things are happening so quickly surrounding the protest,”” Bruce said. “”The people who don’t want your voice heard will do whatever they can to stifle it. But the student voice won’t stop.””

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