And now the Arizona situation worsens as we stand at a crossroads, at odds with the federal government and struggling to recover from an historic recession. We need strong leadership to return to the solid fiscal stewardship that marked my years as a public servant.
We are suffering under the weight of too much regulation and a tax structure that inhibits growth. The job creating private sector flourishes when the legislature creates a climate that doesn't strangle them If that wasn't enough, we now have to take on a legal battle against our own federal government: a battle that was needless and only the result of a highly charged political conflict. It is nearly impossible to believe that our own government would actually sue our state, but they did and now we have to pursue our legal rights.
Recently the voters overwhelmingly approved a 1 cent tax increase to fund education and public safety. I will dedicate myself to enhancing Arizona's educational infrastructure and ensure Arizona's K-12 and higher education systems remain strong. Businesses locate where education is successful.
Because the federal government has failed in its duty to secure our border, the state has for years been put in a position of diverting resources away from our basic needs. We've been forced to spend more than $150 million per year just to house criminal aliens in our state prisons. Millions more go into programs that meet immediate needs of the alien population. These huge amounts would be significantly reduced if the federal government would uphold its obligation to secure our border. As we face the pending appeals that are attendant to the SB 1070 issue, we'll need legislators who are seasoned and understand that we have to give full effort to the whole array of issues on the table and not be swallowed up in the swirl of attention focused solely on illegal immigration
Arizona needs every dime we now take in to deal with the problems of the economic crisis. Securing the border is fundamental to solving these problems. We need a return to the smarter policies of investing in schools, transportation and public safety.
The next legislature has many challenges to tackle. Smart and proven leadership will restore Arizona to an environment that promotes strong families, healthy businesses and respect for the law. That is the direction I'm heading and prepared to lead Legislative District 20.
I've been endorsed by Governor Brewer, The Arizona Republic, Professional Firefighters Association, Arizona Realtors, Arizona Police Association, the Chandler Chamber of Commerce, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Greater Phoenix Chambers, Arizona Highway Patrol Association and many other organizations. I ask for your vote in the upcoming election.