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Lawmakers called into special session

Lawmakers began pulling double-duty yesterday, as they were called into a special session to fix the fiscal 2010 budget.

Gov. Jan Brewer listed four items on the special session agenda: balancing the 2010 budget, including delaying education payments and selling more state buildings; setting up a special election for a three-year, 1-cent sales tax increase; pro-rating income tax deductions for out-of-state filers; and borrowing against the state’s future revenues from the Arizona Lottery.

The proposals will not balance the state budget, the Governor’s Office noted in a media release. Additional work will be necessary to fully address the rest of the budget shortfall.

“Today I have asked that members of the legislature prioritize the most essential services of state government,” Brewer noted in the statement released yesterday. “I believe that the essential public safety services of state government must be protected, as well as vitally important classroom funding for our children.”

Brewer started this year by asking the Legislature to enact a temporary sales tax increase. But she has now backed away from that request and is calling for a ballot referral this spring to allow voters to decide whether to increase the state sales tax.

“In all of my years as an elected official, I have never advocated for a temporary revenue increase,” she stated. “I do not issue this call lightly, but only after the most serious and careful contemplation that it is absolutely necessary to protect fundamental funding for public safety and education. As I have stated repeatedly since March of 2009, I trust the will of the voters of the state of Arizona.”

This marks the sixth time Brewer has called the 49th Legislature into special session since she took office a year ago.

5 comments

  1. Hope she cleared this with the real Governor of Arizona..Grover Norquist.

  2. I will not vote for a sales tax increase!!!! I realize one cent would not be a big deal for any one person. However, let the state live within it’s means!!!! Stop expecting the taxpayers to pay more and more !!! The state has to learn to only spend what they have, just like the rest of us!!

  3. Public safety is one thing, and should be preserved — police, fire fighters, and incarceration for dangerous or repeat offenders, etc. But legislators have continuously refused to face the fact that there are many people in prison who could safety be released and finish their time under community supervision, including on electronic monitoring at gargantuan savings to the state. The state adopted the 1994 criminal code (85% \truth in sentencing\) because the federal government was offering money — tons of money — to allow states to build new prison beds, but the original concept from Congress was that VIOLENT offenders should serve at least 85% of their sentences. Arizona, in its infinite wisdom, changed its criminal code to require ALL offenders — dangerous and non-dangerous alike — to serve 85%. This change has skyrocketed the prison population and the costs associated with supporting a needlessly harsh criminal code in our state. If Arizona is going to work its way out of the present financial mess, we will be forced to examine the criminal code and make some revisions for non-dangerous/non-repetitive and/or first-time offenders, except for violent first-time or sex offenders.

  4. Is there a Statesman in Arizona? We continue to see NO movement by leadership to cross party lines and find solutions. Hang on to your party as you continue to allow Arizona to sink into deeper problems.

  5. Why would the Governor’s budget office paint a picture that is not true as it pertains to the number of Juveniles in ADJC jurisdiction 492 for $63 million-(Following are the true numbers-please check it out your self) ? I don’t have a clue-only with the hope that either they have (her administration has misinformed her on purpose for whatever reason and they have been given bad advise-or soemone missed a number???). I cannot believe that if the Governor knew the true numbers and the true state of affairs- that she would have supported such. Her reputation speaks for it self.

    Right now, the safety of Correction Officers guarding those juveniles is at an un-precedent high risk level. Imagine- you have been told that you (correction officers) are no longer needed as an agency-and by the way- , while we (the Governor’s Office and Legislature) debate this, we (the Governor’s Office) want you to manage these youthful offenders –who have failed while under County Juvenile Probation Jurisdiction. This is not a real good situation to be in as an agency-low morale, possible loss of agency staff, overcrowding, high risk offender population.

    Imagine a manufacture in a private industry telling his or her work force the same thing??? ‘I am going to lay you off-yet I want you to still produce quality widgets!!”" Like a lead balloon–what are the odds of producing quality widgets?? Yet to the credit of the Juvenile Correction Professionals-they continue to produce quality ‘widgets’–safe enviornment for the youth and staff. That goes along way to speaking of the quality and dedication of the staff at the Arizona Deparment of Juvenile Corrections. THEY ARE DEDICATED TO PUBLIC SAFETY AND THE 10% OF THE MOST CHALLENGING ARIZONA YOUTH.

    The Agency, in an effort to meet the mandate of the Governor’s Budget Office-is staffing as best they can-yet overcrowding is occurring. In addition, like any concerned professional – family is first and with that comes self preservation. So the possibility of correctional professionals leaving to a more secure employment has begun. This jeopardizes not only personnel, but the youth themselves.

    I appreciate that our state has to make tough choices- as it pertains to the budget. But not on the back of public safety??????!!!!

    I would like to recommend that what ever the Governor’s Office and/or the Legislature agree upon- that it be done quickly- for the protection of Correction Officer’s Lives , the Youth and the Public!!!!

    THE TRUE FACTS

    Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections

    Present population:
    Secure Care (Prison) 496
    Parole 772
    Total 1,268 in ADJC Jurisdiction (the Governor’s Budget people painted a picture that ADJC is only responsible for 492 youth????? where did those numbers come from??)

    The number in Secure Care (Prison) has decreased steadily- due to an Agency Strategic Plan that believed that the best place for these Juveniles is their community–the probability of turning these youth around- is when they are back home–and services deal not only with them-but their Families-(sounds like regionalization to me? hmmm maybe someone (governor’s budget people did not read the Agency Strategic Plan-dated in 2007) . 70% of these juveniles are not going to the Adult system- is a good measure of success–not costing society monies to warehouse these Juveniles in the Adult System. This why the number of incarceration has dropped significantly from 1999–as opposed to the picture painted by the Governor’s budget people.

    Juvenile are sentenced to ADJC jurisdiction-after failing in probation (Usually Seven Referrals for a felony crime they have committed) and/or have committed a more serious felony offense. What would lead one to believe that if they failed in County Probation-that they would once again be successful again-under County Jurisdiction? Unless the Counties now have the appropriate staff to deal with the juveniles.

    The Governor’s Administration budget office paints a picture that the Juveniles sentenced to ADJC have primarily property crimes and drug offense backgrounds. Not true: The fact is that there are a good number that have not only been convicted of property crimes –yet there are also a significant number who have committed violent crimes (25% plus)-such as armed robberies-carjacking, gang related aggravated assaults and yes-even Homicides!!! The Governor’s administration budget office also failed to mention that on average there are about 100 sex offenders convicted of child molestation to sexual assault), under ADJC jurisdiction at any one time. The law enacted in the 1990′s did not mandate Juvenile Judges to send these type of offenders to the Adult system-discretion was written into that law for good reason. Juveniles can and do turn around!!!

    When the youth are first brought into Juvenile Corrections- a CCP (Continuous Case Plan) is developed and follows the youth back into the community.

    The plans are treatment education bound- in order to reduce their chances of reoffending- when back in their community. It is not about locking them up-(Secure Care-prison/detention) but returning them to their Community successfully,

    Juveniles have to earn levels -1 to 4- in order to be released from a juvenile corrections facility to the community. Average length of stay in a juvenile corrections facility is seven months-bottom line is successful transition back into their community.

    Once in their community- the juveniles are required (no choice) to be in school and working. If not working-due to age- they are performing community services. They are also required to remain drug and crime free- surveillance and drug monitoring systems are in place to facilitate this.

    Several measures not found in County Probation are:

    Day Evening Support Centers (staffed by ADJC personnel in the Community). These centers provide structured programming, education, and relapse prevention for the youth and their families- all in one center. These Centers are efficient and cost effective and in the Youth’s community. (Governor’s plan forgot to mention this).
    Enhanced partnering with local Law Enforcement in monitoring youth’s activity- while in the community.
    All ADJC youth are entered into and monitored by the ACIC/NCIC nationwide Law Enforcement computer system. Anytime an ADJC youth is stopped and ran in this system, by an Officer -an automated alert is sent to ADJC notifying them of the stop. Also the Local Law Enforcement Officer is alerted the youth is on ADJC supervised release. This leverage an additional set of eyes in the community to help monitor the youth.

    The primary goal of ADJC is to make the public safe by taking in the worst state juvenile offenders- rehabilitate, educate and monitor them. With the end goal that they do not commit anymore crimes! 70% do not recidivate–in other words-do not become adult criminals.

    Please Governor Brewer and Legislators-find a quick resolution to this challenge!!!!

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