Monday, July 7, 2008

Budget scam keeps Arizona in bad shape

Arizona's newspapers are portraying the new state budget as some kind of painful compromise that gave Governor Napolitano much of her legislative agenda without breaking the bank.


As House Minority Whip Steve Gallardo (D-Phoenix) commented, "I like being in the majority."

The budget that passed was awash in red ink and gave the legislative shop-aholics everything they wanted. There was no compromise.

In an OpEd distributed by the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers, Tom Jenney put it nicely.

For the Big Spenders in both parties, who wish to expand the size and influence of government, the FY 2009 budget is a major victory. It actually increases spending commitments by over $700 million--during a recession, and in a supposedly conservative state. State government spending now takes up 7.01 percent of the state’s economy—the biggest portion since 1980—and is set to get even bigger.   
For state universities alone, the budget included $1 billion-plus in borrowing. Does that sound like an exercise in austerity? More to the point, is that the sort of money the state government should be laying out when the goal is to close a $2 billion deficit?

Worse, the budget hides education expenditures through an illegal trick that has school districts borrowing against the future to cover their expenses -- a violation of the requirements of Proposition 301, passed by voters in 2000.

Why tighten your belt when you can just spend what you want and lie about it?

Well, actually, there may be good reasons for the state government to tighten its belt -- such as the fact that it's taking in less tax revenue this year than last. As of April 2008 (PDF), net collections for the "Big Three" -- individual income tax, corporate income tax, and transaction privilege, severance and use taxes -- were $6,697,335,002. In April 2007 (PDF) they were $7,250,856,133. If you take in less money, but you spend more money ...

Well I gues that makes you an Arizona legislator who "delivered on the pain promised by lawmakers and the governor," according to the Arizona Republic.

Or maybe it just makes you a huge part of the problem.



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