President George Bush's proposed budget for FY 2007 is a disgrace, plain and simple. It will shortchange key conservation programs both through funding cuts and budgetary gimmicks, seriously jeopardizing our wildlife and public lands. The Kaibab National Forest will lose 360 acres, which will be sold off in order to pay down the huge deficit that the President and Republicans in Congress have created.
At a time when forest fires will undoubtedly become rampant due to our dry winter, the Forest Service would lose $680 million in funding as well. Rick Renzi has given much lip service lately to the idea that we need more equipment and more firefighters in order to combat the imminent forest fires, yet we have not seen him condemn Bush's budget. It's time for Rick Renzi to step up to the plate and do more than just pretend to be doing his job.
The President's budget would also severely hurt Native Americans who rely on the Urban Indian Health Program as their means of attaining medical aid. His budget will eliminate this $33 million program as Bush believes that Native Americans can find health care somewhere else.
Bush's budget also hurts Native Americans in the area of education. He is seeking to eliminate the $16 million Johnson O'Malley (JOM) program, which provides grants to tribes so that tribes can distribute the money to public schools for tutoring, counseling and other services for Indian students. Construction of schools on the reservations will also be cut by $50 million. This is all just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Bush's proposal to leave Native Americans out in the cold. Rick Renzi has been claiming in press release after press release that he is a friend of the Native American, yet once again we hear nothing from him on the issues that really make a difference to our friends on the reservation. His silence speaks volumes about his character and values.
Mike Caccioppoli, Candidate for Congress in CD-1, Flagstaff