State Sen. Missy Irvin, R-Mountain View, chairman of the Senate Interim Committee on Children and Youth, said she supports the decision to cut preventative programs to keep caseworkers on the job. She said the federal spending cuts underscore the need for state lawmakers to take a close look at state spending priorities during next year’s legislative session.
“We’ve got to use our money wisely and put it toward programs that work, and if they don’t work we need to get rid of those programs,” Irvin said.
Jennifer Ferguson, deputy director of the nonprofit group Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, said DCFS is not the place to start making spending cuts. She said that when state lawmakers consider their priorities in the next session, protecting children from abuse and neglect should be at the top.
Ferguson also said Arkansas Advocates believes Congress should not cut spending without looking at ways to raise revenue.
Ms. Ferguson of course makes a good point. If there’s a revenue problem and cuts would jeopardize children who are being starved, beaten, or molested, then the right and moral thing to do is look for some revenue else where, like making the Waltons and similar wealthy Arkansans who can afford it pay a little more. Republicans like Irvin though will never go for that-protecting the wealthy from modest tax hikes is a moral issue. Protecting kids from abuse? That’s socialism.
Mercifully, Irvin has a strong opponent in William “Zac” White.
Meanwhile, this is an issue Democrats need to hammer across the state. If Republicans take just one house in the state legislature, expect them to force cuts to important programs like this. This quote is something Democrats should be putting in radio, tv, and newspaper ads and hammering home in every corner of Arkansas.