The Arizona Desert Lamp

Trouble Brewin’

Posted in Campus, Politics by Connor Mendenhall on 4 February 2009

Round one of the Great Budget Bout went to the Arizona legislature, but one UA student has a plan to keep fighting–by recalling recently installed Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. This week math education undergrad Alex Swindle launched, a website meant to help students organize and collect over 200,000 signatures required by law to recall Brewer and hold a special election for Governor. His case against the Gov:

On January 31st Governor Brewer signed off on $284 million of cuts to education spending. This includes $142 million from the public universities, $133 million from public K-12 schools, and $9 million from community colleges. This comes on top of Arizona’s ranking dead last in the Smartest State Awards, based upon legislatures’ commitment to public education funding.

Clearly Jan Brewer is not the only one to blame, and in fact the entire legislature has a long history of failing to support education. However, former Governor Janet Napolitano had a record of standing up to a legislature determined to keep Arizona’s education at the bottom, and her replacement signed off on the massive cuts.

Further, Democrats shouldn’t be the only ones who care: a poor education system affects everyone in the state regardless of political affiliation. I, along with many other Arizona Democrats, would be perfectly fine having a Republican governor as long as he or she were committed to the support of public education. That’s the whole reason for this site’s existence: calling a special election is not about removing a Republican and replacing her with a Democrat. It’s about sending a message to the Arizona government that education is important to the citizens of this state. A special election will serve to make the politicians realize that the public cares about its schools, and give us a chance to elect someone who shares our views.

I have to admire any action from students that evinces intelligence above and beyond the boneheaded “40%=Deth” brouhaha, but an attempt to punish Brewer for making budget cuts strikes me as misplaced rage. Sure, she may have flown off to the Super Bowl while the ink was drying on the state budget, but former Gov. Janet Napolitano is the one who flew off to Washington to Secure Our Homeland and left a $1.6 billion budget deficit behind.

In fact, I can’t help but feel a little sympathy for Brewer. What would you do instead? Make deeper cuts to K-12 education? Stop funding Medicaid? Lay off more prosecutors or police? Or maybe raise taxes during the deepest recession in decades? This isn’t about “failing to support education” as much as it’s about failing to balance a budget that’s been in deep deficits since this time last year. As Ben Kalafut wrote over at Goldwater State, “there is no ‘other side'” scheming to cripple higher ed in Arizona: there is simply “a State with a budget shortfall.” In all likelihood, Arizona’s universities would have faced cuts–regardless of whether Jan or Janet had the dubious honor of approving them. Recall might be sweet revenge–but it won’t balance the budget.


2 Responses

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  1. cem said, on 4 February 2009 at 2:58 pm


  2. […] called off Posted in Politics by Connor Mendenhall on February 7th, 2009 Recall the recall? It’s been recalled. From […]

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