State Capitol News
10:20 am
Thu April 29, 2010

Minority of Legislators Blocking Plan to Help Fun State Park System

Phoenix, AZ – The parks board already has closed several sites after state
lawmakers, looking to balance the budget, raided their funds.
Several others will shut in early June without a cash infusion.
On Wednesday the House considered a plan to borrow $40 million
from a voter-approved fund earmarked for purchasing and
preserving open space. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema objected.

(If parks were so important to members of this body, then perhaps
they could have chosen not to cut the funding for the parks to
close them in the first place. That's my first point. My second
point, Mr. Speaker, is that this is unconstitutional and therfore
we should not pass this bill.)

Sinema noted the state constitution bars lawmakers from
reallocating voter-approved funds unless it furthers the purpose
of the original measure. She said funding parks with cash for
land acqusition doesn't do that. As it turned out, the courts
won't have to decide who's right. The constitution also requires
any change of voter-approved measures to have a three-fourths
vote. But with virtually all Democrats opposed, the final tally
came up nine short. Sinema said the Democrats shouldn't take the
blame. She said Republicans voted against an alternate and legal
plan to tack a surcharge onto all vehicle registration fees to
permanently fund parks. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard
Fischer.