Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

May 3, 2007


Host: Matthew Whitaker

Bee Mystery


  • It's called "Colony Collapse," the sudden disappearance of millions of bees worldwide. No one is sure what is causing it, and what it might mean for the future. Beekeeper Dennis Arp joins us.
Guests:
  • Dennis Welch - East Valley Tribune
  • Dennis Arp - Beekeeper
Category: Environment

View Transcript
>>Matthew Whitaker:
Tonight on "Horizon," the State Senate, and house released budgets this week which almost immediately became stalled. We'll tell you the latest. And why are the Bees disappearing? A local beekeeper will give us his theories. That's coming up next on "Horizon."

>>Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the Friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Good evening and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Matthew Whitaker. Months after the Governor released her budget plan, the House released its budget plan earlier this week. With the Senate following soon afterwards. However, the two plans in the Legislature almost immediately hit a logjam. We'll talk about that with a Capitol reporter. But first, here are some budget basics. And there are a lot of numbers, so listen carefully.

>>Mike Sauceda:
The Senate budget totals $10.6 billion, a 2\% increase over last year. The House plan is $25.8 million larger, a 2.3\% spending increase over last year. The House budget offers bigger tax cuts, totaling just over $60 million. The Senate has a $7 million tax cut for new business property. A Senate budget would create $500 million in new freeway funds immediately by increasing the issuance of highway bonds from 20 years to 30 years. The Senate plan has 62 million dollars for accelerated highway projects, which is also in the House budget. Both the Senate and House plan to have a 2\% inflation adjustment for education, also both budgets provide another $80 million in new kindergarten funding. There is $46 million in the Senate budget to get starting teacher pay to $33,000 a year. The House plan has less, 8.7 million. The house budget has 8 million for more students at the Phoenix Medical Campus. The Senate budget has 6 million. In the Health and Welfare Arena, the House plan has no extra money for child care subsidies. Senate budget has 9 million for that. The Senate plan would also allow kids' care, a healthcare plan for the poor, to be promoted in different ways through schools. The House plan does not have that provision. In the area of Public Safety, the Senate plan has 3.3 million for inmate population growth and 9.4 million for 1000 previously authorized private prison beds, while the House plan would add 49 million for inmate population growth. The Senate plan includes a 3\% pay raise for state workers, while the house plan calls for a 2.5\% increase.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Here to make some sense of those numbers, to talk about the dynamics of the budget process is East Valley Tribune reporter Dennis Welch. Thank you for joining us again, Dennis.

>>Dennis Welch:
No problem.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Can you tell us where we are in the process right now, the legislative process?

>> Dennis Welch:
Well, like you said in the beginning of the show. I mean, you know, We're stalled. We're at a standstill now, you know. Both the House and the Senate unveiled their proposals with some pretty key differences there. The Senate unveiled theirs, I believe, on a Tuesday, and it was hailed as kind of like this bipartisan effort ,where, you know, the Democrats and Republicans had both not just had a hand shake agreement but were, quote-unquote, hugging afterwards. As well as the Governor had signed off on this, too, in a rare comment on something she actually said during her Press Briefing this week that, yeah, she would sign this budget. However it comes down to kind of -- it's stalled now on one issue and comes down to really one person at this point, the Senate Appropriations [Committee] Chairman Bob Burns, who doesn't want to move forward until they get what's called the "Corporate Tuition tax credit" issue hammered out.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, and that's what I was going to ask you next, a question about that. Give us the real skinny on this issue. This is a situation where the Republicans felt as though they needed a victory? Can you explain that a little more?

>>Dennis Welch:
You know, I don't know if they would exactly say it that way. I do know that Senator Burns, you know, maybe feels he hasn't gotten everything he's wanted. Earlier in the session, he proposed using -- dipping into the State's "Rainy Day Fund" to, you know, speed up or disperse State Highway construction or whatnot. But basically, this issue comes down to -- there's a couple things with the tuition tax. Some Senators want to be able to move back the date that you can get a Corporate Tuition Tax to April 15, meaning that you have up until that time to, you know, give to these organizations for students that can go to private or parochial school, and that would count for the previous year's Tax Credit. The other part of that is there's another proposal out there that would allow people to have their, you know, donations to these types of organizations taken directly out of their paycheck, kind of like a direct deposit, like people's paychecks or something like that go straight into the bank. A portion would be taken out and go straight to these tuition organizations.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, OK. Now, tell me. To a lot of people that seems as though the Senate has worked in a bipartisan sort of way and the House hasn't. Can you explain that? What's behind that?

>>Dennis Welch:
I think it might come down to personality. It's well-known that the [House] Speaker and the Governor haven't really gotten along very well in the past, you know, and Senator, being his first year in leadership out there, there was no real history there. He was part of leadership in the past, but maybe this year, let's see if we can work a little closer with him and get something done. Where there's a history between Speaker Weiers and Governor Napolitano of really not getting along very much.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Couldn't be the first time that personality played a role in politics.

>>Dennis Welch:
Exactly. Another interesting story I think we were talking about in the Green Room is what happened last night at a Republican. Fund-raiser dinner last night. There was a keynote speaker talking about what a Republican is, and he says to the effect that god put Republicans on this earth to limit government and reduce taxes. He says that, you know, look at the House here. We've got $60 million in proposed tax cuts and, in the Senate, we only have about 7 million, and he basically said, you know, the Senate needs to give that back. And that kind of spurred this big applause from all the Republicans in the room. Senator Bee stood up and walked out. He was followed by the Speaker, and I understand there were some words exchanged afterwards. I mean, speak about personality, some types it comes down to that.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, certainly this is the type of acrimony, or what appears to be acrimony, that a lot of citizens don't like or sort of associate with politics in the first place.

>>Dennis Welch:
It's certainly a turnoff, yeah.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Yea. Well, let me ask you this. When might we see a compromise? Because ultimately, this is going to have to happen. So, when will we see this?

>>Dennis Welch:
That is the million dollar question. You know, we just spoke with [Senate] President [Tim] Bee before I came here just a couple hours ago, and he told me, listen, he's talked to both sides, you know, he's talked to everybody involved, and said, listen, let's go back, let's think about this over the weekend. Let's cool off and reevaluate our positions. As it is right now, I mean, both sides are pretty well entrenched, and it's not really a Democrat/Republican argument, because it's a couple of Republicans, Senator O'Halloran and Senator Karen Allen from Scottsdale who are really dug in on this. They are very much opposed to this Corporate Tuition Tax stuff. They've dug in and they're saying no way. Likewise, Senator burns and as well as some other folks like Senator Huppenthal from Chandler said, listen, we need this.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, well, let's talk more about specifics of what they're proposing, particularly as it comes to taxes and tax cuts. It appears as though, in fact, the House has proposed more tax cuts than the Senate. Can you break that down more and tell us how that's unfolding?

>>Dennis Welch:
Certainly, the big portion of the tax cut that the House is proposing comes down to, like, a Corporate Income Tax, which is about 28 and almost $30 million of that tax cut proposal comes down , you know, to that. Whereas obviously, the Senate would come down and say it's a lot smaller tax, but they're also touting -- saying, hey listen, we've got $600 million in the base in tax funds, and we've gotten that in previous years and saying that kind of stuff. They're also going to say, listen, they may have a bigger tax cut package, but we've also got more money for teacher pay raises.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, and let's speak to that. You know, more money for teacher pay raises. Can you talk about that?

>>Dennis Welch:
Yeah. In the Senate, there is, you know, there's about, what is it, $46 million, I think, set aside for teacher pay raises. Wherein -- and that's specifically the legislative intent is set aside for that. Over in the Senate side, there is none. There is none in the box right there, but what they will say is there's 20 million set aside in what could be kind of a discretionary fund. Let's give it directly to the districts. They can decide what to do with it. They know what their needs are. They would also say that $80 million that's set aside for the expansion of all-day kindergarten would also be used for that money. So, theoretically, they said -- one of their spokesmen says, in theory, we have $100 million out there that could be used for tax -- for pay raises. You know, well, using that logic as well, in theory, they also have nothing that could go towards teacher pay raise as well.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, but doesn't that ostensibly create sort of an adversarial relationship between teachers and the very students that they're teaching? I mean, it's either a bigger salary for me, or less money for you. I mean, how are folks responding to that reality, or that argument?

>>Dennis Welch:
I mean, that's always a tough choice, man. You're gonna ask somebody, "so, where is this money gonna go, to the teacher or the kids?" That's always a tough question.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, OK. There's some funding also for higher education. What numbers are we talking about there, and what sort of allocations are we talking about for higher education?

>>Dennis Welch:
Uh, well, it looks like the universities are pretty much -- are getting pretty much what we want - what they want. $148 million and stuff like that for retention of faculty and students and like that. They're getting taken care of this year. On this campus, ASU, it's been talked about a little bit. The one item they didn't get would be the Del E. Webb School of Construction, which would teach people how to be, you know, head of construction projects, stuff that we're going to need in the State as we continue to grow.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, and there's also -- the House has more money set aside for prison beds and things of that nature. Can you speak about that?

>>Dennis Welch:
Well, obviously, I mean, prison beds is something that's been in the news quite a bit. We've had our own prisoners rioting in Indiana. There's been some issues as far as some tension between whether we should have more private beds or more public beds. So yeah, that has been a big issue in there. Because currently I believe we're about 4000 over capacity right now in our beds, and we're just -- they're just running out of room.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, and finally -- we have about 30 seconds -- child care subsidies. What sort of allocations or considers are going on about that in the budget? Where are we at?

>>Dennis Welch:
As far as health care, the Kids' Care?

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Yes.

>>Dennis Welch:
There's been -- that's been one of the things that the Governor's really been focused on. Originally, she had proposed let's get every child living in a family income of $60,000 or less -- let's get them enrolled in Kids' Care, which is a subsidized state healthcare plan. She gave that up. Instead what they're trying to do right now is lift the so-called gag order, which would allow Kids' Care to be able to partner with the School Districts and schools to advertise their services. They think that they could get 119,000 students that are eligible for this program that aren't on it -- they think they can get a good percentage of them on this program because maybe they don't know they qualify.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Thank you, Dennis, for joining us.

>>Dennis Welch:
Appreciate it.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
To "bee" or not to "bee". If bees knew Shakespeare, maybe that's what they would be asking themselves, because bees are disappearing in huge numbers. Theories abound. Some blame cell phones. Others blame the breakdown of the ozone. Whatever is causing it, it is a worldwide event. I'll talk to a beekeeper about his theories, but first, Producer Mike Sauceda and Videographer David Riffle have more on the disappearing bees.

>>Mike Sauceda:
Dennis Arp, a beekeeper and honey producer from Flagstaff, gets ready to take a look at his bees. He keeps some of them near a citrus grove in far east Mesa. And like bees all over the world, his have been subject to Colony Collapse.

>>Dennia Arp:
See, this colony -- yeah. This is like a - this is kind of the frustrating part of the job.

>>Michael Sauceda:
Would you call this a Colony Collapse?

>>Dennis Arp:
Yeah. This would be one that would have just collapsed.

>>Mike Sauceda:
Colony Collapse has hit here in Arizona, but there is no way to track what's happening, because the bee industry was deregulated in the 90's. However, individual beekeepers like Arp can certainly quantify the problem.

>>Dennis Arp:
We lost a lot of hives from November to February. We started off with 1,200 hives in late October, and we had a little less than 700 left the first of February. What happens is that a Worker Bee that emerges in October needs to stay alive through January and February, act as a Nurse Bee, and prepare cells for the queen to lay eggs to start raising new young bees to repopulate the hive and get the hive going the next spring. And I think what's happening is, for whatever reason, those bees are not living long enough to get them through the winter. But there were times last fall where you would see five or six mites on a bee like this.

>>Mike Sauceda:
In the 80's, many colonies were affected by mites, causing a drop in bee numbers, but no one has an answer yet as to why Colony Collapse is happening now.

>>Dennis Arp:
I've heard theories that just recently that cell phones -- there's something about the frequency of cell phones which interferes with the ability of the bees to communicate when they're doing their little waggle dance on the combs that they -- they're just -- they fly away from the hive and can't find their way back. The thinning of the Ozone is affecting maybe the UV light, which bees see things in UV light, and they may not be able to again navigate as well. The difference strain of Nosema [Virus] that was discovered in Spain and Europe, we're dealing with Raw Mites, which are an external parasite. They're kind of like a little Tick. There's difference treatments for mites that people are thinking that those -- those different chemical treatments can actually build up in the comb. So if you've got older comb that maybe has had a mite treatment on it for several years, the wax will actually absorb some of that chemical, and then that can affect the bees. Some are just kind of sitting there kind of quivering. Like this one here.

>>Mike Sauceda:
Adding to the mystery is that people are not finding dead bees.

>>Dennis Arp:
The bees are not dying in the hive. They're -- they seem like they're flying away from the hive and then dying. If a hive starves to death, which is one casualty we have sometimes in the winter, you'll have a three or four gallon bucket of dead bees in the hive, and they're all just right in there between the frames. What we were discovering is that you start off with this pretty populous hive, and then it gradually shrinks down to where it's only covering two frames. Sometimes, there will be three or four frames a brood, but only two or three frames a bee, so the bees wern't covering that brood -- just disappeared within just a short period of time.

>>Mike Sauceda:
In Arizona, many crops are pollinated by bees could be affected if we have a day without bees.

>>Dennis Arp:
The big ones in Arizona would probably be the Melons, Watermelons, Cantaloupes. If you go down to Yuma, there's a lot of Canola that is grown, and also a lot of vegetable seeds which those seeds then are sold and distributed nationwide for other, like, home hobbyist garden people to plant.

>>Mike Sauceda:
Colony Collapse actually means a higher profit for Arp on the bees he has left. Almond growers in California are paying $135 a hive, up from $10 a year ago, but eventually it could mean higher prices for consumers. Albert Einstein is even credited with saying that the human race would be extinct within four years if bees totally disappeared.

>>Dennis Arp:
I'm not so sure that it's that bad, but it's -- the Colony Collapse seems like it's been going on, I think, for a while. But last year was pretty dramatic. If that were to continue, and we, in fact, did not have enough bees, then I think it will have an impact on our food chain.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Here now to talk more about disappearing bees is Dennis Arp, beekeeper from Flagstaff. Dennis, thank you very much for joining us.

>>Dennis Arp:
You're welcome.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Can you - so tell us about how bad this problem is.

>>Dennis Arp:
Based on my experience, we had about 1,200 hives last October , and we only took 687 to the Almonds this spring, so we lost almost 500 hives over the winter.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, so can you tell us what's the answer? I mean, is it the Nosema virus? I mean, what's going on here?

>>Dennis Arp:
What I think it is it's something that the bees are not living long enough during the winter months. In the summer, the queen's laying eggs and you've got a constant turnover of young bees, and those bees only live six or eight weeks in the summer. But bees emerging in October need to stay alive through November, December, January, and it seems like the colonies are kind of collapsing, the populations are decreasing end, like, early November into December.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, OK. Now, tell me what kind of crops rely on bees to pollinate them?

>>Dennis Arp:
Here in Arizona, the Melon crops, the Watermelons, Cantaloupes. A lot of vegetable seeds that are grown over in Yuma. Almond pollination is probably the nationwide biggest pollination crop, and probably 90\% of Arizona bees go to California for Almond pollination, and about 80\% of the bees in the United States.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, so has it affected our food supply? What's the potential? I was reading a lot of things earlier about Florida and the Apple crop. There are all sorts of scenarios that seem pretty ominous. I mean, to what degree do they impact our food supply?

>>Dennis Arp:
About a third of our food supply is pretty directly related to some type of insect pollination. And specific things like the Almonds, they need the insects to pollinate in order to produce a crop. The vegetable seeds in Yuma and these Watermelons, and the farmers are paying a "Pollination Fee", which is indicative of how much they do need those bees. I mean, they're willing to pay whatever it makes to get them.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK.

>>Dennis Arp:
But, you know, things like corn crops and rice and those things are not really dependent on the insect pollination, so it's -- I don't think we're going to starve if the bees, you know, continue to decline, but it does have a pretty big impact on a lot of things. Most of us go home, and we want to have different vegetables and fruits, and the availability of those things may not be there.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Right.

>>Dennis Arp:
Apples are another crop that's pollinated. A lot of the fruit trees, Plums and Cherries, Blueberries.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
What about prices? What's the impact on --

>>Dennis Arp:
It could have an impact on the price, but I think it kind of needs to just see how serious -- if it still continues in the next year. I know a lot of the Arizona crops are -- I think there's enough bees to pollinate a lot of the Melon crops, from what I've been talking to the beekeepers.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, OK. Do you think it is possible for the majority of bees to disappear? I mean, is that a scenario that's realistic?

>>Dennis Arp:
It's possible, because it -- for a few years now, we've been seeing Queen Bees just don't seem to last as long. We buy new queens, and we would lose, you know, 5\% of the colonies over the winter normally, and now we're losing 25 to 30\% for the last few years. And of course last year it was almost 50\% for me. There's some other beekeepers went from 12,000 hives down to 2,000 hives, so they've had maybe a little more trouble on the East Coast than on the West Coast.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK. So theoretically, what would happen if all the bees go away?

>>Dennis Arp:
It would have a pretty big impact on a lot of our food. I mean, you know, like I said, like corn and rice and that kind of stuff, but we've got a lot of other things that are pollinated. A lot of vegetables, they're affected by that.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK. And I also understand that it could impact cattle, horses, cows.

>>Dennis Arp:
Well, sort of directly, because Alfalfa--

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Yea--

>>Dennis Arp--
seed is pollinated, so the alfalfa growers pay -- have bees to pollinate to produce the seed, and then that seed is dispersed nationwide to plant alfalfa, and then, of course, it's used as a feed product. So it's kind of indirect, but it's a pretty intricate web. A lot of things are really tied together with some indirect effects.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Indirectly. OK, now, the bee industry was deregulated in the 1990's. Did this have an effect?

>>Dennis Arp:
I don't think it's had an effect on this with the exception that, if we were still regulated, or if we did have a bee program, it would be a source of information or someone else who would be -- to kind of consolidate information and bee keepers could go to it if they had some problems. I think it would be better if we were regulated, but that's my personal opinion.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, so what sort of things would you like to see done now? I mean, what sort of things, information getting out there and what sort of hands-on things would you like to see done to address the issue?

>>Dennis Arp: Well, there's a lot of things that are being done already. There's several USDA research facilities that are working on this Colony Collapse disorder, some private individuals. There's several universities also have some programs. The National Honey Board has allocated some money towards some of these research projects, and so there's a lot of pretty high-powered people working on different theories. You know, the Nosema, there's a different sprain of Nosema that has showed up in Spain that was affecting Serana bees, and now they think it's affecting our European Honey Bees. Some of the symptoms could be something of what we're seeing. There are some viruses spread by the Mites. We've heard cell phone theories. I'm not totally convinced it's cell phones, but--

>>Matthew Whitaker: OK.

>>Dennis Arp: --a lot of different impacts that, you know, bees of pretty intricate things.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
they are pretty intricate. just a part of that "Circle of Life" that folks often talk about. Tell me this. Now, before we were on air, you mentioned that beekeepers themselves are sort of almost a dying art form. I mean, with the sort of lack of numbers of beekeepers, how is that going to play into this problem, too?

>>Dennis Arp:
Right now, it seems to be OK, but I don't seem to see very many 25-year-old people getting into beekeeping. Just our economy is changing. It's a fairly big investment to get started, and you've kind of got to have a knack for doing it, and it's a different style of work than what most people are willing to do anymore. I think it's just a little more physical, hot, sweaty type work where most people want to be connected to a computer somehow. It's a different type of career.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Well, certainly. Are Killer Bees a factor?

>>Dennis Arp:
The Africanized Honey Bees have had an impact open the number of hobbyist beekeepers that -- before Africanized Bees, you could have bees in your backyard. There was a lot of beekeepers here in the Phoenix area. But with the defensive characteristic of Africanized Bees, it's more difficult to have bees near people or other activities, and that's kind of discouraged some of the people that just -- to just get out of it as a hobby, because it's just either a liability or it's just not fun more. So --

>>Matthew Whitaker:
And to what degree of these Africanized Killer Bees still here? I mean, to what extent is the problem really here? Does the fear surpass the reality of their presence here, in terms of their numbers?

>>Dennis Arp:
Almost all of the feral bees in the Phoenix area, in Arizona, are Africanized. Not all of them are really, really defensive, but as a race of bee, they have a tendency to be more defensive. And they colonize more unusual places. They show up in water meter boxes, in utility boxes, just in a box in someone's backyard. So their -- and their genetic influence, they will infiltrate our hives with some of those bad characteristics, so we actually "requeen" our hives pretty regularly to try and keep them out or to maintain a more domestic European stock.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, alright. Well, Dennis, thank you very much for joining us on "Horizon." we appreciate all the information.

>>Dennis Arp:
You're welcome. Glad to be here.

>>Announcer:
Friday on the Journalists' Roundtable, we discuss the May Day march and rally. Thousands march to push for immigration reform. And the latest on efforts to work out a state budget. Two plans came forward this week. The Journalists' Roundtable, Friday at 7:00 on "horizon."

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Thank you for joining us this thursday evening on "Horizon." I'm Matthew Whitaker. Good night.

>>Announcer:
if you have comments about "horizon," please write to the addresses on your screen. Your name comments may be used on a future edition of "Horizon."

>>Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the Friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Budget Battle


  • The Arizona House and Senate have both released state budgets. They are working to settle some differences. Tribune reporter Dennis Welch will join us to talk about the legislative budget proposals.
Guests:
  • Dennis Welch - East Valley Tribune
  • Dennis Arp - Beekeeper
Category: Legislature

View Transcript
>>Matthew Whitaker:
Tonight on "Horizon," the State Senate, and house released budgets this week which almost immediately became stalled. We'll tell you the latest. And why are the Bees disappearing? A local beekeeper will give us his theories. That's coming up next on "Horizon."

>>Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the Friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Good evening and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Matthew Whitaker. Months after the Governor released her budget plan, the House released its budget plan earlier this week. With the Senate following soon afterwards. However, the two plans in the Legislature almost immediately hit a logjam. We'll talk about that with a Capitol reporter. But first, here are some budget basics. And there are a lot of numbers, so listen carefully.

>>Mike Sauceda:
The Senate budget totals $10.6 billion, a 2\% increase over last year. The House plan is $25.8 million larger, a 2.3\% spending increase over last year. The House budget offers bigger tax cuts, totaling just over $60 million. The Senate has a $7 million tax cut for new business property. A Senate budget would create $500 million in new freeway funds immediately by increasing the issuance of highway bonds from 20 years to 30 years. The Senate plan has 62 million dollars for accelerated highway projects, which is also in the House budget. Both the Senate and House plan to have a 2\% inflation adjustment for education, also both budgets provide another $80 million in new kindergarten funding. There is $46 million in the Senate budget to get starting teacher pay to $33,000 a year. The House plan has less, 8.7 million. The house budget has 8 million for more students at the Phoenix Medical Campus. The Senate budget has 6 million. In the Health and Welfare Arena, the House plan has no extra money for child care subsidies. Senate budget has 9 million for that. The Senate plan would also allow kids' care, a healthcare plan for the poor, to be promoted in different ways through schools. The House plan does not have that provision. In the area of Public Safety, the Senate plan has 3.3 million for inmate population growth and 9.4 million for 1000 previously authorized private prison beds, while the House plan would add 49 million for inmate population growth. The Senate plan includes a 3\% pay raise for state workers, while the house plan calls for a 2.5\% increase.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Here to make some sense of those numbers, to talk about the dynamics of the budget process is East Valley Tribune reporter Dennis Welch. Thank you for joining us again, Dennis.

>>Dennis Welch:
No problem.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Can you tell us where we are in the process right now, the legislative process?

>> Dennis Welch:
Well, like you said in the beginning of the show. I mean, you know, We're stalled. We're at a standstill now, you know. Both the House and the Senate unveiled their proposals with some pretty key differences there. The Senate unveiled theirs, I believe, on a Tuesday, and it was hailed as kind of like this bipartisan effort ,where, you know, the Democrats and Republicans had both not just had a hand shake agreement but were, quote-unquote, hugging afterwards. As well as the Governor had signed off on this, too, in a rare comment on something she actually said during her Press Briefing this week that, yeah, she would sign this budget. However it comes down to kind of -- it's stalled now on one issue and comes down to really one person at this point, the Senate Appropriations [Committee] Chairman Bob Burns, who doesn't want to move forward until they get what's called the "Corporate Tuition tax credit" issue hammered out.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, and that's what I was going to ask you next, a question about that. Give us the real skinny on this issue. This is a situation where the Republicans felt as though they needed a victory? Can you explain that a little more?

>>Dennis Welch:
You know, I don't know if they would exactly say it that way. I do know that Senator Burns, you know, maybe feels he hasn't gotten everything he's wanted. Earlier in the session, he proposed using -- dipping into the State's "Rainy Day Fund" to, you know, speed up or disperse State Highway construction or whatnot. But basically, this issue comes down to -- there's a couple things with the tuition tax. Some Senators want to be able to move back the date that you can get a Corporate Tuition Tax to April 15, meaning that you have up until that time to, you know, give to these organizations for students that can go to private or parochial school, and that would count for the previous year's Tax Credit. The other part of that is there's another proposal out there that would allow people to have their, you know, donations to these types of organizations taken directly out of their paycheck, kind of like a direct deposit, like people's paychecks or something like that go straight into the bank. A portion would be taken out and go straight to these tuition organizations.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, OK. Now, tell me. To a lot of people that seems as though the Senate has worked in a bipartisan sort of way and the House hasn't. Can you explain that? What's behind that?

>>Dennis Welch:
I think it might come down to personality. It's well-known that the [House] Speaker and the Governor haven't really gotten along very well in the past, you know, and Senator, being his first year in leadership out there, there was no real history there. He was part of leadership in the past, but maybe this year, let's see if we can work a little closer with him and get something done. Where there's a history between Speaker Weiers and Governor Napolitano of really not getting along very much.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Couldn't be the first time that personality played a role in politics.

>>Dennis Welch:
Exactly. Another interesting story I think we were talking about in the Green Room is what happened last night at a Republican. Fund-raiser dinner last night. There was a keynote speaker talking about what a Republican is, and he says to the effect that god put Republicans on this earth to limit government and reduce taxes. He says that, you know, look at the House here. We've got $60 million in proposed tax cuts and, in the Senate, we only have about 7 million, and he basically said, you know, the Senate needs to give that back. And that kind of spurred this big applause from all the Republicans in the room. Senator Bee stood up and walked out. He was followed by the Speaker, and I understand there were some words exchanged afterwards. I mean, speak about personality, some types it comes down to that.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, certainly this is the type of acrimony, or what appears to be acrimony, that a lot of citizens don't like or sort of associate with politics in the first place.

>>Dennis Welch:
It's certainly a turnoff, yeah.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Yea. Well, let me ask you this. When might we see a compromise? Because ultimately, this is going to have to happen. So, when will we see this?

>>Dennis Welch:
That is the million dollar question. You know, we just spoke with [Senate] President [Tim] Bee before I came here just a couple hours ago, and he told me, listen, he's talked to both sides, you know, he's talked to everybody involved, and said, listen, let's go back, let's think about this over the weekend. Let's cool off and reevaluate our positions. As it is right now, I mean, both sides are pretty well entrenched, and it's not really a Democrat/Republican argument, because it's a couple of Republicans, Senator O'Halloran and Senator Karen Allen from Scottsdale who are really dug in on this. They are very much opposed to this Corporate Tuition Tax stuff. They've dug in and they're saying no way. Likewise, Senator burns and as well as some other folks like Senator Huppenthal from Chandler said, listen, we need this.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, well, let's talk more about specifics of what they're proposing, particularly as it comes to taxes and tax cuts. It appears as though, in fact, the House has proposed more tax cuts than the Senate. Can you break that down more and tell us how that's unfolding?

>>Dennis Welch:
Certainly, the big portion of the tax cut that the House is proposing comes down to, like, a Corporate Income Tax, which is about 28 and almost $30 million of that tax cut proposal comes down , you know, to that. Whereas obviously, the Senate would come down and say it's a lot smaller tax, but they're also touting -- saying, hey listen, we've got $600 million in the base in tax funds, and we've gotten that in previous years and saying that kind of stuff. They're also going to say, listen, they may have a bigger tax cut package, but we've also got more money for teacher pay raises.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, and let's speak to that. You know, more money for teacher pay raises. Can you talk about that?

>>Dennis Welch:
Yeah. In the Senate, there is, you know, there's about, what is it, $46 million, I think, set aside for teacher pay raises. Wherein -- and that's specifically the legislative intent is set aside for that. Over in the Senate side, there is none. There is none in the box right there, but what they will say is there's 20 million set aside in what could be kind of a discretionary fund. Let's give it directly to the districts. They can decide what to do with it. They know what their needs are. They would also say that $80 million that's set aside for the expansion of all-day kindergarten would also be used for that money. So, theoretically, they said -- one of their spokesmen says, in theory, we have $100 million out there that could be used for tax -- for pay raises. You know, well, using that logic as well, in theory, they also have nothing that could go towards teacher pay raise as well.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, but doesn't that ostensibly create sort of an adversarial relationship between teachers and the very students that they're teaching? I mean, it's either a bigger salary for me, or less money for you. I mean, how are folks responding to that reality, or that argument?

>>Dennis Welch:
I mean, that's always a tough choice, man. You're gonna ask somebody, "so, where is this money gonna go, to the teacher or the kids?" That's always a tough question.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, OK. There's some funding also for higher education. What numbers are we talking about there, and what sort of allocations are we talking about for higher education?

>>Dennis Welch:
Uh, well, it looks like the universities are pretty much -- are getting pretty much what we want - what they want. $148 million and stuff like that for retention of faculty and students and like that. They're getting taken care of this year. On this campus, ASU, it's been talked about a little bit. The one item they didn't get would be the Del E. Webb School of Construction, which would teach people how to be, you know, head of construction projects, stuff that we're going to need in the State as we continue to grow.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, and there's also -- the House has more money set aside for prison beds and things of that nature. Can you speak about that?

>>Dennis Welch:
Well, obviously, I mean, prison beds is something that's been in the news quite a bit. We've had our own prisoners rioting in Indiana. There's been some issues as far as some tension between whether we should have more private beds or more public beds. So yeah, that has been a big issue in there. Because currently I believe we're about 4000 over capacity right now in our beds, and we're just -- they're just running out of room.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, and finally -- we have about 30 seconds -- child care subsidies. What sort of allocations or considers are going on about that in the budget? Where are we at?

>>Dennis Welch:
As far as health care, the Kids' Care?

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Yes.

>>Dennis Welch:
There's been -- that's been one of the things that the Governor's really been focused on. Originally, she had proposed let's get every child living in a family income of $60,000 or less -- let's get them enrolled in Kids' Care, which is a subsidized state healthcare plan. She gave that up. Instead what they're trying to do right now is lift the so-called gag order, which would allow Kids' Care to be able to partner with the School Districts and schools to advertise their services. They think that they could get 119,000 students that are eligible for this program that aren't on it -- they think they can get a good percentage of them on this program because maybe they don't know they qualify.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Thank you, Dennis, for joining us.

>>Dennis Welch:
Appreciate it.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
To "bee" or not to "bee". If bees knew Shakespeare, maybe that's what they would be asking themselves, because bees are disappearing in huge numbers. Theories abound. Some blame cell phones. Others blame the breakdown of the ozone. Whatever is causing it, it is a worldwide event. I'll talk to a beekeeper about his theories, but first, Producer Mike Sauceda and Videographer David Riffle have more on the disappearing bees.

>>Mike Sauceda:
Dennis Arp, a beekeeper and honey producer from Flagstaff, gets ready to take a look at his bees. He keeps some of them near a citrus grove in far east Mesa. And like bees all over the world, his have been subject to Colony Collapse.

>>Dennia Arp:
See, this colony -- yeah. This is like a - this is kind of the frustrating part of the job.

>>Michael Sauceda:
Would you call this a Colony Collapse?

>>Dennis Arp:
Yeah. This would be one that would have just collapsed.

>>Mike Sauceda:
Colony Collapse has hit here in Arizona, but there is no way to track what's happening, because the bee industry was deregulated in the 90's. However, individual beekeepers like Arp can certainly quantify the problem.

>>Dennis Arp:
We lost a lot of hives from November to February. We started off with 1,200 hives in late October, and we had a little less than 700 left the first of February. What happens is that a Worker Bee that emerges in October needs to stay alive through January and February, act as a Nurse Bee, and prepare cells for the queen to lay eggs to start raising new young bees to repopulate the hive and get the hive going the next spring. And I think what's happening is, for whatever reason, those bees are not living long enough to get them through the winter. But there were times last fall where you would see five or six mites on a bee like this.

>>Mike Sauceda:
In the 80's, many colonies were affected by mites, causing a drop in bee numbers, but no one has an answer yet as to why Colony Collapse is happening now.

>>Dennis Arp:
I've heard theories that just recently that cell phones -- there's something about the frequency of cell phones which interferes with the ability of the bees to communicate when they're doing their little waggle dance on the combs that they -- they're just -- they fly away from the hive and can't find their way back. The thinning of the Ozone is affecting maybe the UV light, which bees see things in UV light, and they may not be able to again navigate as well. The difference strain of Nosema [Virus] that was discovered in Spain and Europe, we're dealing with Raw Mites, which are an external parasite. They're kind of like a little Tick. There's difference treatments for mites that people are thinking that those -- those different chemical treatments can actually build up in the comb. So if you've got older comb that maybe has had a mite treatment on it for several years, the wax will actually absorb some of that chemical, and then that can affect the bees. Some are just kind of sitting there kind of quivering. Like this one here.

>>Mike Sauceda:
Adding to the mystery is that people are not finding dead bees.

>>Dennis Arp:
The bees are not dying in the hive. They're -- they seem like they're flying away from the hive and then dying. If a hive starves to death, which is one casualty we have sometimes in the winter, you'll have a three or four gallon bucket of dead bees in the hive, and they're all just right in there between the frames. What we were discovering is that you start off with this pretty populous hive, and then it gradually shrinks down to where it's only covering two frames. Sometimes, there will be three or four frames a brood, but only two or three frames a bee, so the bees wern't covering that brood -- just disappeared within just a short period of time.

>>Mike Sauceda:
In Arizona, many crops are pollinated by bees could be affected if we have a day without bees.

>>Dennis Arp:
The big ones in Arizona would probably be the Melons, Watermelons, Cantaloupes. If you go down to Yuma, there's a lot of Canola that is grown, and also a lot of vegetable seeds which those seeds then are sold and distributed nationwide for other, like, home hobbyist garden people to plant.

>>Mike Sauceda:
Colony Collapse actually means a higher profit for Arp on the bees he has left. Almond growers in California are paying $135 a hive, up from $10 a year ago, but eventually it could mean higher prices for consumers. Albert Einstein is even credited with saying that the human race would be extinct within four years if bees totally disappeared.

>>Dennis Arp:
I'm not so sure that it's that bad, but it's -- the Colony Collapse seems like it's been going on, I think, for a while. But last year was pretty dramatic. If that were to continue, and we, in fact, did not have enough bees, then I think it will have an impact on our food chain.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Here now to talk more about disappearing bees is Dennis Arp, beekeeper from Flagstaff. Dennis, thank you very much for joining us.

>>Dennis Arp:
You're welcome.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Can you - so tell us about how bad this problem is.

>>Dennis Arp:
Based on my experience, we had about 1,200 hives last October , and we only took 687 to the Almonds this spring, so we lost almost 500 hives over the winter.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, so can you tell us what's the answer? I mean, is it the Nosema virus? I mean, what's going on here?

>>Dennis Arp:
What I think it is it's something that the bees are not living long enough during the winter months. In the summer, the queen's laying eggs and you've got a constant turnover of young bees, and those bees only live six or eight weeks in the summer. But bees emerging in October need to stay alive through November, December, January, and it seems like the colonies are kind of collapsing, the populations are decreasing end, like, early November into December.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, OK. Now, tell me what kind of crops rely on bees to pollinate them?

>>Dennis Arp:
Here in Arizona, the Melon crops, the Watermelons, Cantaloupes. A lot of vegetable seeds that are grown over in Yuma. Almond pollination is probably the nationwide biggest pollination crop, and probably 90\% of Arizona bees go to California for Almond pollination, and about 80\% of the bees in the United States.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, so has it affected our food supply? What's the potential? I was reading a lot of things earlier about Florida and the Apple crop. There are all sorts of scenarios that seem pretty ominous. I mean, to what degree do they impact our food supply?

>>Dennis Arp:
About a third of our food supply is pretty directly related to some type of insect pollination. And specific things like the Almonds, they need the insects to pollinate in order to produce a crop. The vegetable seeds in Yuma and these Watermelons, and the farmers are paying a "Pollination Fee", which is indicative of how much they do need those bees. I mean, they're willing to pay whatever it makes to get them.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK.

>>Dennis Arp:
But, you know, things like corn crops and rice and those things are not really dependent on the insect pollination, so it's -- I don't think we're going to starve if the bees, you know, continue to decline, but it does have a pretty big impact on a lot of things. Most of us go home, and we want to have different vegetables and fruits, and the availability of those things may not be there.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Right.

>>Dennis Arp:
Apples are another crop that's pollinated. A lot of the fruit trees, Plums and Cherries, Blueberries.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
What about prices? What's the impact on --

>>Dennis Arp:
It could have an impact on the price, but I think it kind of needs to just see how serious -- if it still continues in the next year. I know a lot of the Arizona crops are -- I think there's enough bees to pollinate a lot of the Melon crops, from what I've been talking to the beekeepers.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, OK. Do you think it is possible for the majority of bees to disappear? I mean, is that a scenario that's realistic?

>>Dennis Arp:
It's possible, because it -- for a few years now, we've been seeing Queen Bees just don't seem to last as long. We buy new queens, and we would lose, you know, 5\% of the colonies over the winter normally, and now we're losing 25 to 30\% for the last few years. And of course last year it was almost 50\% for me. There's some other beekeepers went from 12,000 hives down to 2,000 hives, so they've had maybe a little more trouble on the East Coast than on the West Coast.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK. So theoretically, what would happen if all the bees go away?

>>Dennis Arp:
It would have a pretty big impact on a lot of our food. I mean, you know, like I said, like corn and rice and that kind of stuff, but we've got a lot of other things that are pollinated. A lot of vegetables, they're affected by that.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK. And I also understand that it could impact cattle, horses, cows.

>>Dennis Arp:
Well, sort of directly, because Alfalfa--

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Yea--

>>Dennis Arp--
seed is pollinated, so the alfalfa growers pay -- have bees to pollinate to produce the seed, and then that seed is dispersed nationwide to plant alfalfa, and then, of course, it's used as a feed product. So it's kind of indirect, but it's a pretty intricate web. A lot of things are really tied together with some indirect effects.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Indirectly. OK, now, the bee industry was deregulated in the 1990's. Did this have an effect?

>>Dennis Arp:
I don't think it's had an effect on this with the exception that, if we were still regulated, or if we did have a bee program, it would be a source of information or someone else who would be -- to kind of consolidate information and bee keepers could go to it if they had some problems. I think it would be better if we were regulated, but that's my personal opinion.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, so what sort of things would you like to see done now? I mean, what sort of things, information getting out there and what sort of hands-on things would you like to see done to address the issue?

>>Dennis Arp: Well, there's a lot of things that are being done already. There's several USDA research facilities that are working on this Colony Collapse disorder, some private individuals. There's several universities also have some programs. The National Honey Board has allocated some money towards some of these research projects, and so there's a lot of pretty high-powered people working on different theories. You know, the Nosema, there's a different sprain of Nosema that has showed up in Spain that was affecting Serana bees, and now they think it's affecting our European Honey Bees. Some of the symptoms could be something of what we're seeing. There are some viruses spread by the Mites. We've heard cell phone theories. I'm not totally convinced it's cell phones, but--

>>Matthew Whitaker: OK.

>>Dennis Arp: --a lot of different impacts that, you know, bees of pretty intricate things.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
they are pretty intricate. just a part of that "Circle of Life" that folks often talk about. Tell me this. Now, before we were on air, you mentioned that beekeepers themselves are sort of almost a dying art form. I mean, with the sort of lack of numbers of beekeepers, how is that going to play into this problem, too?

>>Dennis Arp:
Right now, it seems to be OK, but I don't seem to see very many 25-year-old people getting into beekeeping. Just our economy is changing. It's a fairly big investment to get started, and you've kind of got to have a knack for doing it, and it's a different style of work than what most people are willing to do anymore. I think it's just a little more physical, hot, sweaty type work where most people want to be connected to a computer somehow. It's a different type of career.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Well, certainly. Are Killer Bees a factor?

>>Dennis Arp:
The Africanized Honey Bees have had an impact open the number of hobbyist beekeepers that -- before Africanized Bees, you could have bees in your backyard. There was a lot of beekeepers here in the Phoenix area. But with the defensive characteristic of Africanized Bees, it's more difficult to have bees near people or other activities, and that's kind of discouraged some of the people that just -- to just get out of it as a hobby, because it's just either a liability or it's just not fun more. So --

>>Matthew Whitaker:
And to what degree of these Africanized Killer Bees still here? I mean, to what extent is the problem really here? Does the fear surpass the reality of their presence here, in terms of their numbers?

>>Dennis Arp:
Almost all of the feral bees in the Phoenix area, in Arizona, are Africanized. Not all of them are really, really defensive, but as a race of bee, they have a tendency to be more defensive. And they colonize more unusual places. They show up in water meter boxes, in utility boxes, just in a box in someone's backyard. So their -- and their genetic influence, they will infiltrate our hives with some of those bad characteristics, so we actually "requeen" our hives pretty regularly to try and keep them out or to maintain a more domestic European stock.

>>Matthew Whitaker:
OK, alright. Well, Dennis, thank you very much for joining us on "Horizon." we appreciate all the information.

>>Dennis Arp:
You're welcome. Glad to be here.

>>Announcer:
Friday on the Journalists' Roundtable, we discuss the May Day march and rally. Thousands march to push for immigration reform. And the latest on efforts to work out a state budget. Two plans came forward this week. The Journalists' Roundtable, Friday at 7:00 on "horizon."

>>Matthew Whitaker:
Thank you for joining us this thursday evening on "Horizon." I'm Matthew Whitaker. Good night.

>>Announcer:
if you have comments about "horizon," please write to the addresses on your screen. Your name comments may be used on a future edition of "Horizon."

>>Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the Friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

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