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302 Video Transcript
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Proposition 302 - Video Transcript



MODERATOR RICH DUBEK: Thank you, very much. We are making excellent time. We are down to two propositions. Secretary Bennett will explain Proposition 302.

STATE SECRETARY KEN BENNETT: Thank you, Rich. A yes vote on Proposition 302 will have the effect of terminating Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board and Programs, which were established by the voters in 2006, as part of the Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health initiative.

It would require the transfer of money remaining in the Early Childhood Development and Education Fund on December 1 of 2010, to be deposited into the State General Fund. Thereafter, it would require tobacco tax monies collected pursuant to the initiative, to be deposited into the State General Fund and used for health and human services for children.

A no vote shall have the effect of retaining the Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board and programs, and keeping any money in the Early Childhood and Education Fund.


MODERATOR RICH DUBEK: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Speaking on the pro side of Prop 302 is Pam Pickard, Chairwoman of Kids First – Yes on 302.

MS. PAM PICKARD: Thank you. Good evening. In 2006, voters passed an Early Childhood proposition allowing taxpayers money to be used to provide training for early childhood providers. In the past four years, what has been created is a massive bureaucratic agency that is providing many duplicate programs to preschool children.

The 2006 proposition required that only 10 percent of the tax monies collected be spent for administration. Yet according to the Arizona Republic , to date, about 14 percent, or roughly $40 million dollars has been spent to create this bureaucratic agency of approximately 140 employees and 31 councils.

This agency is bigger than many state agencies with basically little to no oversight. Of the few grants that have been given out, 50 percent, or approximately $17 million dollars was given to three groups in a non-competitive process.

Very few programs have actually been started.

The Early Childhood Agency has stated it took almost four years to get started because they wanted local feedback to meet local needs. Yet again, so little has been accomplished. Besides creating this bureaucracy, it has collected tax money about $324 million dollars in the bank.

With the deficit of the state budget and the cuts to other programs effecting children, the voters need to reassess the 2006 proposition. By voting yes on 302, the money will still go to health and human services for children, but in a much more efficient and accountable way.

The money will be redirected to agencies already providing those services. These agencies have seen cuts and they may see even deeper cuts.

So please put kids first, have your tax dollars accountable, help other agencies from deeper cuts, vote yes on 302. Thank you.

"Against" Arguments

MODERATOR RICH DUBEK: And opposed to 302, we have Nadine Mathis-Basha, Chairwoman of Save First Things First on 302.

MS. MATHIS-BASHA: They say we get the representation we deserve. I don't think that that's true in Arizona . Here in this state that we all love, there is an enormous gulf between the priorities of our voters and state legislature. Arizona voters have spoken clearly over the past four years even as the state has faced economic hardship.

We place protecting education and healthcare at top of our priorities. That's why voters approved First Things First in 2006. We wanted to help kids by using tobacco taxes to build a comprehensive early childhood development and health system, a system that has already helped over three hundred and thirty thousand Arizona children.

This system has meant better educated teachers in the classroom, better childcare, emergency services for families in need. 90 percent of these funds go directly to these programs for children.

By law, First Things First has helped Arizona children begin school ready to succeed and healthy. Voters reaffirm their support for children in May, when Proposition 100 won by a landslide. Again, the message was clear. Project education and health care, and give every child a fair start in life.

Unfortunately, the Arizona Legislature doesn't see it that way. The Legislature put Prop 302 on the ballot for one reason. They covet the revenues voters created specifically to fund First Things First. The same body responsible for spending the state into the red, now wants to spend this money too.

Not only do they want to do whatever – take whatever revenue First Things First has set aside for kids, they want to take the revenue stream, the tobacco tax dollars and put it into the General Fund.

The Legislature thinks it knows better than we the voters, that their priorities should take precedence over ours. Don't let that happen. Don't let Arizona 's children who have no voice at the polls, suffer at the hands of the legislature with wrong priorities.

Please join me and thousands of our fellow Arizonans on November 2. Please vote no on 302. Thank you.

MODERATOR RICH DUBEK: Thank you very much.

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© September 2010