By Timothy J. Schmaltz

Imagine if Scottsdale’s entire population was struck with a natural disaster. We would rush to their aid immediately. We would marshal the resources of the state, community organizations and the faith community, like we did with Katrina refugees, even in the midst of our current economic disaster. We would take federal disaster relief and help the people with housing, food, family support services, health services, anything and everything necessary, both short and long term to help those families return to financial stability.

When you add up all the people impacted by legislature’s health and human services cuts, without including the people who are being thrown into unemployment by these cuts, the end results impact about the same number of individuals living in Scottsdale (240,000 people). What the legislature has done regarding the state budget cuts for health and human services is to create our own disaster.

The Protecting Arizona’s Family Coalition condemns the consequences of 2009 budget cuts imposed on the Departments of Economic Security and Health Services and AHCCCS for children, people with disabilities, seniors, their caregivers and families. The cuts shred the tattered remains of the current state safety net. The cuts may leave some areas of our state without any services. These reductions will fly in the face of many federal regulations for accuracy, accessibility, and timeliness of services and benefits.