[Source: Don Farmer, President, Arizona Heritage Alliance] -- The Morrison Institute, in a 2007 study of ideas and public policies for livability and competitiveness, stated, “The Heritage Fund stands out in part because of the diversity of programs it supports. Funds have been used to maintain trails, acquire and maintain habitat for endangered species, preserve historic and archaeological sites, create and improve community and state parks, and provide environmental education.”
We have been so fortunate the past few years. Arizona’s economy has been robust without any budget shortfalls. That has made the Legislature much less difficult to deal with in regards to fully funded Heritage projects.
A look to 2008 has potential storm clouds. The Heritage Fund is not voter-protected. It can be diverted at any time by our state legislature. With the current state budget shortfalls and if history proves the teacher, the Heritage Fund will be subjected to diversion attempts.
The Arizona Heritage Alliance Board has been busy with the visionary project of a more protected and additive funding concept for both Arizona State Parks and the Arizona Game and Fish Department. We have engaged a public dialogue, with the goal of a consensus among the parties. One of the goals of this public working group is to see that the Arizona Heritage Fund survives the 2008 Legislative session unscathed. The working group has composed a “Pledge” for our lawmakers. We are asking them to sign onto our “Pledge” to support the protection of the Heritage Fund, wildlife programs, and State Parks from any cuts in the state’s budget during this session.
The full wording of the “Pledge” is located on the Arizona Heritage Alliance’s webpage at www.azheritage.org/. Click on link “2008 Pledge” on the left side. We already have several legislators who have made this commitment. If these are your representatives, please thank them for caring to make a difference. If your senator or representative has not yet signed the “Pledge,” please ask him/her to do so by contacting the Arizona Heritage Alliance at 602-528-7500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now is the time to work with the legislature to avoid any knee-jerk actions that threaten the Fund. We ask you to please take action this session to protect one of the most successful programs ever approved by Arizona voters – the Arizona Heritage Fund. It is not too early to contact your state senator or state representative. Just click on www.azleg.gov/alisStaticPages/HowToContactMember.asp. Thank you for your support!