Tue January 24, 2006
Napolitano Vetoes English Learner Bill
By Howard Fischer
Phoenix, AZ – Napolitano sidestepped the question of what she found wrong with the way Republicans want to finance instruction. Instead the Democratic governor said the bill is unacceptable because of a provision added at the last minute to let corporations divert their state income tax obligations to organizations that provide scholarships to private and parochial schools. She said that theoretically could cut state revenues by $850 million a year -- the figure that just happens to be the state surplus that the governor has earmarked for other priorities.
(It means no teacher pay raise, no ability of the state of Arizona to pay back its debts, no health insurance credit for small businesses, no money for border security. All it means is that the Legislature yet again has failed to fully and fairly address the issue of English language instruction.)
The governor is calling lawmakers back into an immediate special session this afternoon in an effort to beat the midnight deadline set by a federal judge to resolve the issue. But Napolitano said even if the deadline passes, she has asked Attorney General Terry Goddard to ask the judge to have those half-million dollar a day fines be set aside to teach English so the money does not go to waste.
In Phoenix for Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.