ScrambleWatch Q&A: Democrat Ephraim Cruz on the State Budget

Democrat Ephraim Cruz is one of seven candidates running for two seats in the Legislative District 29 House of Representatives Democratic primary that voters will decide on Sept. 2. We asked him some questions about the state budget.

Is state spending too high, too low or just right in these areas?

Education (K-12)

Too low. The GOP-led legislature has been gutting tax revenues and the education area has been hit pretty hard, particularly in Legislative District 29. We need to raise taxes. Income taxes and corporation taxes to get funding back in school education.

English Language Learning Program

I support it. And as part of education, it can use more funding.

Emergency preparedness

It could also use more funding.

Environment

We certainly need to invest more in the environment and one way to do that is through public transportation, getting more cars off the highway and building that speed rail between Tucson and Phoenix, extending our bus services, particularly for the late shift, which would also benefit the economy to get more people working, if they want to. So that would be one of the ways to invest in environment.

Health care

Access needs lots of more funding. We need to move away from the area of sick care to preventive care, and I think that if we invested in AHCCCS more so, a lot more so, that would be a way to prevent spending in the longterm on emergency care.

Law enforcement

We know that especially here in Tucson, our city’s lacking in resources and that’s another area too that needs to be greatly increased, not just to cover the 40 percent hole we have in manpower but in increasing in our police force so that we’re able to cut down on response times.

Transportation and highway infrastructure

That goes along with the public transportation I mentioned. We certainly need to maintain our highways, our roads need to be smooth, but we also need to build a culture that moves more towards public transportation and again that’s done through the rail, bus services, even shuttles between neighboring cities such as Green Valley, and get folks to Oro Valley and the like.

Welfare

Well, I certainly support people needing a hand up, not a handout. I’m one of those folks, that in my life, I enjoyed the experience of having a hand up. And here I am returning to public service once again, so it’s certainly an investment to those who need it.

Universities

We need more funding for medical research. It’s a costly process and I support the universities getting more funding for that. That’s a way to diminish expenses in health care long term and we can find ways to prevent illnesses, so I support more funding for universities.

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