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Letters to the Editor: A legislator’s perspective

State Democrats trying to deal with budget

This legislative session has been unlike any other, with a sole focus on the financial straits we are experiencing.

As the session moves along, the deficit amount has been changing based on our revenue.

As reported last week, the state deficit we face for the next fiscal year is $2.93 billion. This poses a great challenge given that our state budget is just over $9.03 billion.

Roughly two-thirds of our budget goes to pay for public education (K-12 and higher education) and public safety. The last third mainly pays for health care and smaller state agencies.

What is most important is what we want Arizona to look like after this financial decline. The budget fix passed in January did not keep that in mind, and many people have been affected.

To date, more than 1,300 people have been laid off and more than 27,000 have been furloughed. This doesn’t include entities with state contracts that have also reduced their work forces.

Senate Democrats proposed $3.5 billion in budget strategies to avoid more steep cuts like those ones made in the fiscal 2009 budget. These are other options to keep from cutting further into the education and safety net services Arizonans need in times like these.

We are still in session, and discussions are under way regarding the fiscal 2010 budget. We all understand difficult decisions must be made, but we hope the budget that is passed is reasonable and responsible. Arizona’s future generations are depending on it.

Manny Alvarez

state senator, Democrat


Marijuana advocates blind to violence

To all the ignoramuses who shout, “Legalize marijuana”:

Thanks for telling our kids and everyone else that marijuana is good.

If it’s legal, it must be good. They’ll get the message, loud and clear, to the detriment of our way of life and their health and well-being.

Have any of you pot boosters read anything about the drug war in Mexico? Mexican citizens, police and military are being killed by the thousands – all over stupid Americans who want to smoke pot.

Just a few grams? Baloney.

Way to go!

Jerry Pulliam

Americans must insist on health care reform

I have not had health insurance since I was downsized about 10 years ago. I was able to continue coverage through COBRA for 18 months, but the cost was exorbitant.

Since then, I have been self-employed, and I have tried to find private health insurance for me and my family, but we are either turned down or it is unaffordable.

If one of us becomes seriously ill or has an accident, I guess we would have to sign over our house to the hospital or declare bankruptcy, like thousands of others all over the country.

America is the only industrialized democracy in which the citizens have failed to demand health care as a basic right.

If Obama’s health care plan does not include a public option like Medicare, millions of people will continue to be without insurance and living on borrowed time. We must insist on real reform.

Cheryl Kohler

Don’t be fooled by HMO scare tactics

Barack Obama’s health care plan gives Americans a choice between the for-profit private plan they may already have and a public plan like Medicare.

Many Americans, who have served in the military or work for the federal or state governments, already are covered under public plans that permit choice of doctors.

Insurance companies and HMOs employ high-paid lobbyists to erase any public option in the legislation before Congress before Obama’s plan even comes to a vote.

They are willing to spend vast sums to keep the profits that reward their CEOs, inflate health care costs, and blacklist Americans with pre-existing conditions from the ability to buy insurance.

In America, 1 in 6 citizens is uninsured. Millions more discover they are underinsured after they suffer an accident or catastrophic illness.

These companies conceal the profit motive and spread misconceptions that scare Americans into thinking government interference will limit freedom of choice.

For far too long HMOs have saved money so they could pad their profits by insuring only the perfectly healthy and excluding the rest. Don’t fall for scare tactics.

Any legislation that cuts out the public option is not reform. The only way to reform the system and cut waste is to give Americans a choice between a private plan and a public option that will guarantee health care.

Sandra Spangler

1 in 6 uninsured leaves no compromise room

There is no room for a “compromise” that will mandate every American gets health care only if insurance companies rein in costs a certain percentage within some uncertain timetable.

Insurance companies will just try to manipulate the numbers and do the bare minimum to meet the requirements. More of the same. It’s not reform unless every American is insured. It’s just more of the same.

We voted for change, not a continuation of this horrible situation which has left 1 in 6 Americans without insurance.

John Lucas


Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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