The Arizona Desert Lamp

Can we build it?

Posted in Campus, Politics by Connor Mendenhall on 10 October 2008

Last semester’s most atrocious bit of fiscal foolishness was the work of Arizona’s university presidents: a billion-dollar handout for campus construction sold to lawmakers as the “Stimulus Plan for Educational and Economic Development” and paid for by the poor, through Arizona’s regressive state lottery. Now, it looks like SPEED may meet the end it deserves: slow death by committee.

This week, Rep. Russell Pearce (R-Mesa), and Sen. Bob Burns (R-Peoria), leaders of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Capital Review, refused to review the spending proposals submitted by Arizona’s universities, even though the bill was approved earlier this year by the Legislature and earlier this month by the Board of Regents. From Tuesday’s Arizona Daily Star:

When lawmakers passed a budget over the summer, it included $1 billion worth of construction and maintenance projects at UA, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University. The project was to be funded by bonds that would be paid back through the expansion of the state lottery system.

Close to half of the money was to help fund the expansion of the UA’s biomedical campus in downtown Phoenix. Additionally, the UA was supposed to receive $170 million for projects in Tucson, including $68 million for building repair, $12 million for renovations to Centennial Hall and $90 million for a new environmental sciences building.

But last week, leaders of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Capital Review held off reviewing the package, a move that blocks the funding and puts the projects in jeopardy.

The committee’s purpose is to review state capital projects to ensure that they can be funded, meaning it has no power to undo what the Legislature passes. By choosing not to review the projects, the committee’s Republican leadership has held up the funding, which university officials said could lead to costly delays — or even kill the measure entirely.

Students may already be familiar with Rep. Pearce — he was the sponsor of last year’s most atrocious bit of non-fiscal foolishness: a bill that would have prevented universities from “denigrating American values and the teachings of Western civilization.” But on this slick subsidy, he and Burns sound eminently sensible. “You can’t spend money when you don’t have it,” Pearce told the Star Wednesday. In the article quoted above, Burns backs him up, arguing that “we shouldn’t be giving favorable review to a project that we may not be able to support.” Sounds like these two have gleaned a few tips on good government from the latest personal finance bestseller.

Of course, the committee won’t kill the package without a tussle. President Shelton is not pleased with the construction delay — rightfully, in part, since the committee is also holding up construction of two new residence halls to be paid for now by bonds (good luck) and later by rent. Meanwhile, Governor Napolitano is arguing semantics and vowing to go ahead with the construction, “reviewed” or not. From Thursday’s Star:

Napolitano said she believes once Pearce puts the proposal on the committee agenda, the panel has been given the opportunity for review.

“He doesn’t have approval authority,” she said. “He only has review authority, at most.”

Pearce doesn’t see it that way. “We’ve been told that ‘review’ and ‘approval’ mean the same thing,” he said.

So does “review” mean “rubber stamp,” or is it interchangeable with “approve?” Only one way to settle an argument like this on the Internet — obnoxious quotes from the OED (after the jump)!

From the dictionary:

approve, v.1

5. To confirm authoritatively; to sanction. Hence the techn. term: a. in Sc. Parliament for confirming, or deciding in the affirmative, by a vote of the house; b. for confirming the sentence of a court-martial.

1413 LYDG. Pylgr. Sowle V. xiv. 82 here may no thing be approvid, ne affermed, but if it be founde in the feith. 1480 Bury Wills (1850) 59, I..by this my present testament..myne seyde mynde, wyll and entent..approue, ratifie, and conferme. 1590 SWINBURN Testaments 40 The lawe dooth not approoue such testamentes. a1619 M. FOTHERBY Atheom. Pref. 13 The old may not be proued, because it is approued. 1726 in Wodrow Corr. (1843) III. 248 The vote was stated, Whether Approve the overture of the Committee, or Delay. 1816 C. JAMESMilit. Dict. (ed. 4) 141 The colonel or commanding officer approves the sentence of a regimental court-martial.

review, v.

4. Law. To submit (a decree, act, etc.) to examination or revision.

1621 H. ELSING Debates Ho. Lords (Camden) 120 All my decrees have ben reviewed: yea, all my orders and peticions. 1771 Junius Lett. lx. (1788) 323 That parliament may review the acts of ministers is unquestionable. 1817 Parl. Debates 731 Praying that the Act.., regarding conveyancers, might be reviewed for the purpose of being repealed or amended. 1858 LD. ST. LEONARDS Handy-Bk. Prop. Law xii. 77 The order may be reviewed or may be appealed from. 1892 Law Times Rep. LXVII. 211/1 The court, on appeal, can review the exercise of his discretion by the County Court Judge.

Congratulations, public officials — you’re all denigrating Western civilization! Even so, here’s hoping this deceitful construction crapola gets reviewed into oblivion.

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4 Responses

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  1. […] by Connor Mendenhall on December 23rd, 2008 Which old bill? The billion-dollar corporate handout campus construction plan sold to the public as an “economic stimulus package” for the state of Arizona. Rep […]

  2. […] have released open letters calling for five percent of any proposed package to be spent on campus construction projects. From the Carnegie letter, published as a full-page ad in The New York Times and The Washington […]

  3. […] for economic stimulus. From a Goldwater Institute article published last May covering the atrocious SPEED program:  On May 1, the state Senate Higher Education committee held a hearing on a proposal from […]

  4. […] October of that year, Rep. Russell Pearce held up the bill, citing that antiquated philosophy that you “can’t spend money when you […]


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