These letters to the editor appear online only and not in the Tucson Citizen’s print edition.
Use state surplus on elder care
AARP urges the Arizona Legislature to approve an $8.6 million increase for nonmedical Home and Community Based Services.
The state’s budget surplus is running over $1 billion. It makes no sense to keep frail, vulnerable elderly waiting when they can ill afford to wait for these services.
Many seniors, who could remain at home with appropriate services, are at risk of ending up needing institutional care.
HCBS has not received a substantial funding increase in many years even as Arizona’s senior population most needing these services climbed by 250 percent between 1999 and 2002 alone.
AARP also supports a $1.5 million funding increase for Adult Protective Services to hire staff to investigate 100 percent of elder abuse reports.
As with HCBS, this program also has not had a substantial increase in years, despite caseload and inflation increases.
So far, these recommended funding increases have not been in the Legislature’s budget. It’s time to shore up needed services, especially in rural areas where infrastructure is lacking and programs are in danger of going under. In good fiscal times, we should build upon services that have been neglected during hard times.
associate state director
Governor can’t abdicate responsibility
Gov. Janet Napolitano offers poor excuses for vetoing the Trespassing by Illegal Aliens bill.
She seems to have forgotten that her first responsibility as governor, as well as that of all state and local law enforcement agencies, is to protect the lives and property of Arizonans.
While the federal government has been negligent in securing our borders for the past 20 years, this is no reason for Napolitano to abdicate her own responsibility.
The impact of illegal immigration remains our state’s No. 1 problem, and it has worsened considerably since the 1990s.
Funding to implement this anti-trespassing bill pales compared with the tens of millions of dollars for health care, education, social services and detention of illegal immigrants, all of which is paid for by Arizonans.
As supporters of the bill noted, a separate bill moving through the Legislature would provide communities with $30 million for immigration control, including enforcing an expanded trespassing law.
Sen. Barbara Leff, the bill’s chief sponsor, said, “I don’t think the governor wants to do anything about this problem.”
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson found funding to deal with the high incidence of border crime and related problems.
It’s time to evacuate those who are illegally trespassing. The Legislature has done its job. It’s time for the governor to do hers.