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Voters rejected two ballot propositions Tuesday that would have transferred almost $450 million from two voter-approved funds to address the state budget deficit. Read more»

Retired Mesa police chief Dennis Donna, left, and former Paradise Valley police chief John Wintersteen read to children at Phoenix Day, a child develpment center in Phoenix. The center participates in Arizona’s First Things First early childhood programs. The officers oppose Proposition 302, the ballot initiative that would terminate funding for the program.

Helping at-risk children develop social skills and the ability to learn before they enter school prevents crime in the long run, retired Mesa Police Chief Dennis Donna said Monday. Proposition 302 would transfer $325 million from First Things First to help address the budget deficit. Read more»

Rhian Evans Allvin, executive director of First Things First, says leaders of the early childhood development program and its supporters understand that the state faces unprecedented financial difficulties. But she notes that voters created First Things First in 2006 to help a specific population that will suffer if those funds are swept to shore up the state budget, as Proposition 302 would do.

But families could lose access to services offered by First Things First when voters decide in November whether to eliminate the program and funnel its $325 million to help address the state budget deficit. Read more» 2