Below is the urgent e-mail blast to out to Shepherd Members. Things are happening so quickly it may not help if we don’t contact them now.
Dear Shepherd Members & Friends,
Valley Interfaith Projects needs your urgent support to help battle budget cuts to Education that are being rushed through the legislature for approval by Friday or this weekend, behind closed doors with the Governor’s office. These cuts to Education would erase all the hard work of the gains made by passing the Scottsdale Schools Override, and apply to Education statewide.
There are a few moderate legislators who are attempting to fight this who need to know they have our support. If you can first or foremost call, email, or better yet go meet them in person. VIP will be at the Legislature on Tuesday morning, which will be extra critical if it does not pass this weekend.
Heavy pressure is being applied to "rank and file" legislators this evening to support the budget plan. We only need of few of them to change their Votes to make a difference. VIP has done the work to learn the Key Possible Swing Votes are:
Bob Worsley, Catherine Miranda, Carlyle Begay, Franklin Pratt, TJ Shope, Jill Norgaard, Bob Robson, Doug Coleman, Regina Cobb, Jay Lawrence
Likely Supporters who need to hear our support include: Steve Pierce, Jeff Dial, Adam Driggs, Brenda Barton, Heather Carter, Kate Brophy McGee
Please contact your legislators now (even this evening) and urge them not to make a hasty decision. Please use the following link to find contact information for your representatives. Time is of the essence.
All you need to do is contact them, let them know you support their No Vote on these cuts to Education, and you are calling as a member of Shepherd, one of the institutions that belongs to Valley Interfaith Project. (That designation can help triple your impact).
More details on the budget are attached along with instructions to meet at the legislature this Tuesday. A brief summary from VIP is below.
Your VIP Core Team,
Beth Franco, Will Heasley, Judy Eighmey
The budget process is moving at a rapid clip and the legislative leadership would like for the budget to be wrapped up on Saturday. Budget details are seeping out (and not all of these are consistent), but there is no public process for airing the actual proposal and allowing for critical deliberation. Some members of the majority caucus are beginning to openly question the further cuts to education, perhaps slowing down the process to allow the public to learn the actual nature of this budget before it is enacted.
This means that your calls and emails are having an impact. Let's keep it up, and insist that legislators not rush to approve the budget until it is clear what it will actually do.
This evening, Senator Steve Farley provided the following details from a budget briefing he attended this afternoon:
--> Cuts to hospital and provider rates for those providing care to Medicaid / AHCCCS patients total $127 million over two years which mean a loss of another $508 million in federal matching funds from Arizona's economy over that time.
--> K-12 schools are cut $98 million in FY16 and another $157 million in FY17.
--> Community colleges in Pima, Pinal, and Maricopa Counties are zeroed out completely from state funding.
--> Universities are cut 14% for a $104 million cut in FY16.
--> JTED programs are cut by $30 million in FY17.
--> TUSD is singled out for a $8 - $15 million hit annually from elimination of the 1% prop tax cap which may lead to higher prop taxes.
--> $10 million cuts to the Department of Child Safety.
--> $360 million left untouched in the Rainy Day fund.
--> and no discussion of suspending the remaining $883 million in corporate tax giveaways that will go into effect in the next three years or the $12.6 billion in special interest sales tax loopholes.
We are also attaching an analysis from the Children's Action Alliance. Please take the time to study these pieces.
VIP leaders will continue to be at the legislature, monitoring the budget and other legislation of concern.
--The VIP Legislative Action Team
Valley Interfaith Project
2728 E. Thomas Rd. Suite 108
Phoenix AZ 85016