3/24/2010 11:34:00 AM Letter: State spending cuts
affect all Arizonans
For the longest time, I've watched the state erode health and human services. Leading my busy life, I rationalized my disinterest. I don't have time to attend meetings, to get political.
Previously, I didn't think these cuts would affect me. However, if legislators make proposed health care and social program cuts, they will affect every Arizonan. They will cause irreparable economic and medical harm to thousands of people. They will affect our co-workers, friends and family, and cause long-term damage to our state.
Myth: Cuts in health care don't affect me.
Truth: Health care cuts affect everyone.
If you or someone you know works for AHCCCS, that job could end. The House and Senate appropriations committees approved bills Wednesday to eliminate Medicaid for 310,000 individuals on Jan. 1, 2011. About 45,000 children will lose KidsCare on April 1. If this doesn't directly impact you, it likely will affect services at local emergency rooms, your property tax for increased county health services, or your doctor's ability to continue practicing.
Myth: Perhaps the health care cuts are drastic, but cuts in mental health, juvenile corrections, domestic violence and child or adult protective services don't affect me.
Truth: Cut mental health services to 36,500 Arizonans and those with mental health crises will end up in emergency rooms, committing crimes and inflicting family violence. Eliminating state juvenile corrections will return youths with behavioral and criminal patterns to our communities.
Detaining them will require higher property taxes, while releasing them will reduce community and school safety. These cuts mean job losses for thousands.
The financial impact for the state is bleak, since everyone affected is someone's employee or customer. I would prefer a small sales tax increase to serve vulnerable adults and children in systems that already exist, and to retain jobs our state desperately needs.