by Jim Nintzel
The budget sweeps funds that keep the Parks open and maintained. SB1612 general appropriations 2011-2012 (Biggs, Klein, Murphy, et al.) sweeps the Enhancement Fund of approximately $2,090 000. This is particularly outrageous as this fund consists of the user fees we all pay to use the parks. It also takes $1,491,100 from the State Lake Improvement Fund in this current fiscal year, among other sweeps. This will create a huge cash flow issue for parks and make it nearly impossible for the agency to pay its rent, meet payroll or pay for operations.
At this point they are not going to back off on this budget, so all we can do is express our disappointment and make a point to let other people know how they voted and hold them accountable. The House voted 40-19-1 to support SB1612. It was straight down party lines. Representative Hale was gone. To view the vote detail, click on SB1612 vote. Please call them and express your outrage at both how they did the budget and what is in it!
To call from outside the Phoenix area, use the toll free number at 1-800-352-8404. In the Phoenix area call (602) 926-4221 (House). Ask them to connect you to your legislators’ offices. Remember calls can be very effective ways of reaching your elected officials — emails are easier to ignore. You can contact Governor Brewer by calling her at (602) 542-4331 or toll free at 1-(800) 253-0883. Email her by clicking on Governor Brewer and then filling in the online form.
If you have not done so, please contact your representatives and ask them to oppose the strike everything amendment on SB1517 (Melvin, Aboud: Antenori, et al). It deals with transmission lines; environmental compatibility certificates. All transmission lines that are greater than 115 kilovolts must get a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and go through the line siting process. This proposed striker is being proposed by the proponents of the proposed SunZia Southwest Transmission Project, which consists of two 500 kilovolt transmission lines that if built, will stretch across about 460 miles of Arizona and New Mexico. Several of the proposed locations in Arizona would affect important public lands and wildlife habitat, including the San Pedro River and the Aravaipa watershed.
The proponents have been trying to jam this bill through this session, so the project is not subject to review and approval, denial, or approval with conditions by the Arizona Power Plant and Transmission Line Siting Committee process. It will limit public input and access to information and potentially give Arizona less of a voice on these multi-state projects.