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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


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    Conservatives outshine liberals in opposing Rio Nuevo

    It has been fantastic to see some uncharacteristically useful dialogue coming out of the state capital in recent months. This much-needed discourse coming out of the state legislature regards the absurd practice of handing over public money to wealthy industrialists.

    It appears that the resurrection of traditional conservatism could have some positive effects for the public. The Republican leadership at the capital has targeted two very important topics; the first of these is Rio Nuevo and the second, the public-private partnerships providing discounted research at state universities. The actions of these Republicans could be a jump-start toward serving people over profits! Just last week Rio Nuevo was threatened with total divestment following a disappointing presentation about Rio Nuevo made by project director Greg Shelko.

    Tucsonans should support Republican lawmakers in their attempt to abolish the entire Rio Nuevo project. Rio Nuevo is a campaign to use public money for the enrichment of a few investors by gentrifying one of the last affordable neighborhoods near downtown. It’s a bad idea implemented ineffectively. The progress made so far is laughable, as anyone who has driven on West Congress can attest to. As the Arizona Daily Star reported March 11, the money spent thus far is 2 1?2 times what taxpayers were originally told by the city the project would cost. None of the buildings, aquarium, hotel, convention center expansion, museums or arena has been completed $200 million later. As it stands now, the project is planned to continue utilizing public funds through 2025!

    Similarly, in February the public-private partnerships at the states’ three universities were cut entirely. These programs allocated $22.5 million from the state to be matched by companies like Raytheon Missile Systems and Intel. Rep. Stevens of Sierra Vista correctly called the program “”corporate welfare.”” Cutting off public funding to Raytheon is a great first step in reclaiming our community!

    The frustrating part in all this is how these Republican lawmakers cannot see the benefit of spending tax money on programs that actually help the public. While Raytheon and Intel are being cut off, so are children learning to read. The same Republicans who ended the public-private partnership at state universities are carrying out a scheme to disembowel the public education system. How can it be that these policy makers treat our children with the same disregard as a missile company? There are a couple of ironies unraveling here. First is that these traditional conservatives are making some rather progressive changes, albeit accidentally.

    Also interesting is that these old-school conservatives are more rational than many Democrats, who have proven themselves far too happy to hand public money out to investors and Fortune 500 companies, meanwhile doing nothing to confront a degrading, silly and authoritarian school system. We hope to see more vigorous debate on the topic of public expenditures and we will see you in the street when the time comes!

    Chad Wellins

    UA alumnus

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