Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Science Foundation Arizona funding embroiled in politics

In the early morning hours on Saturday, the Arizona Legislature eliminated the entire budget of $22 million for the 21st Century Fund which is the pathway to finance Science Foundation Arizona. According to a series of stories in Arizona Guardian, House and Senate leadership had agreed on a lesser cut, and were debating levels of either $7 or $15 million, but a group of freshmen legislators led by Rep. Sam Crump of Anthem, led a 'rebellion' and pushed through the complete elimination of funds.

Then on Monday, House Speaker Kirk Adams stripped Crump of his chairmanship of the House Government Committee, for leading the so-called 'uprising' against the party leadership.

After two days of press releases and conferences, and closed meetings, Adams today reinstated Crump to his committee chair position. But Science Foundation Arizona funding is gone, begging the question why it became the victim of such a prominent political battle. Many of the newspaper articles that covered the budget battles described SFA as one of former Governor Napolitano's pet projects, but I can't say how much of a factor that was.

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