Per the New York Times, it seems Arizona citizens, at least the ones who drive, are seriously pissed that their budget-strapped State Department of Transportation is closing rest stops along Arizona highways.

The people of Arizona kept their upper lips stiff when officials mortgaged off the state’s executive office tower and a “Daily Show” crew rolled into town to chronicle the transaction in mocking tones. They remained calm as lawmakers pondered privatizing death row.

But then the state took away their toilets, and residents began to revolt.

“Why don’t they charge a quarter or something?’” said Connie Lucas, who lives in Pine, Ariz., about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from here. “There was one rest stop between here and Phoenix, and we really needed it.”

Arizona has the largest budget gap in the country when measured as a percentage of its overall budget, and the state Department of Transportation was $100 million in the red last fall when it decided to close 13 of the state’s 18 highway rest stops.

But the move has unleashed a torrent of telephone calls and e-mail messages to state lawmakers, newspapers and the Department of Transportation deploring the lost toilets — one of the scores of small indignities among larger hardships that residents of embattled states face as governments scramble to shore up their finances.

“People in this state are mad about this,” said State Representative Daniel Patterson, a Democrat from Tucson who has sponsored a bill that would allow other entities to reopen and maintain the rest stops. “This bill may have the broadest support among members of any bill this year.”

Arizona now joins several other states also forced to close rest stops and nearly all states forced to cut/end other public services, close parks, postpone needed repairs, fire teachers/police/firemen and reduce health services. Welcome to Ronald Reagan’s Bathtub.

There is a solution for Arizona’s citizens: They should relieve themselves at the offices of their two elected Senators and any Republican Representatives.

Senators Kyl and McCain and all US Republican Congressmen not only refused to support the stimulus bill that included support for state budgets during the Great Recession; they also applauded Republican Senators Collins and Snowe when they demanded the level of state budget support be drastically reduced as the condition for getting any stimulus bill at all. And now this same lot has made it virtually impossible to get another essential stimulus to help the states.

When there are no rest stops, the only rational response is to piss on the lot.


NYT/Jennifer Steinhauer: Closing of Rest Stops Stirs Anger in Arizona
NYT/Paul Krugman, Republicans and Dems Live [and Piss] in Different Universes