State Capitol News
9:42 am
Wed February 18, 2009

Economic Security Department continues cutting

Phoenix, AZ – The Department of Economic Security continues to make cuts in the
services it provides. But some Republican lawmakers are questioning how that list
got prepared.

The list including things like cutting child care subsidies for
some low income parents and eliminating assisted living services
for some elderly. On Tuesday, that list got longer as DES said it
would reduce the subsidy paid to foster parents and cut funding
for domestic violence shelters. State Senate Majority Whip Pam
Gorman said she is suspicious.

(When you are taking cuts that look to any observer to be the
last place that you should be looking for cuts and actually it's
on your first pass, you have to think to yourself why would they
do that? So our only guess is that it's politically motivated --
not politically in the terms of Republican versus Democrat but in
terms of creating a grassroots campaign if you will to stave off
any cuts.)

DES spokeswoman Liz Barker said the mandate to cut more than $98
million in the middle of the budget year meant services had to be
cut, as only 8 percent of her agency's budget is administrative.
But Sen. Ron Gould wasn't buying it.

(They have places to cut. We've never really went through the
whole state with a fine-toothed comb and a sharp pencil. In 05
when we had a budget deficit, the real estate bubble grew its way
out of the deficit and no cuts were made.)

A spokesman for Gov. Jan Brewer, whose appointee heads DES, said
the governor had no comment on the criticism.