In September 2009, Governor Jan Brewer asked each state agency to present a plan to reduce their budgets by 15 percent. The following is an assessment of each agency’s plan and whether there are more opportunities for savings. The departments are arranged in the order in which they appear in the master list of programs from the Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting. Most stand-alone boards and commissions, the so-called 90/10 agencies, are not included since they are self-funded through user fees.
The numbers listed here represent appropriated budgets before the December 2009 special session in which most agency budgets were cut 7.5 percent. Thus, the full savings would be realized in fiscal year 2011.
In some cases, the Goldwater Institute recommends suspending or eliminating an office or department. But for the current fiscal year, at a minimum, the plan presented by each of those offices or departments to reduce expenses by 15 percent should be accepted.
Before addressing each agency individually, there are two general reforms to consider:
1) End income tax revenue sharing. There is no constitutional requirement for the state to collect taxes on behalf of cities and towns. Local governments should be responsible for collecting their own taxes, which would also make them more directly accountable to their citizens.
Savings: About $550 million
2) End public lobbying. Order all state agencies to report what they currently spend on lobbyists, strip them of these funds, and make it illegal for them to hire lobbyists in the future. Public-sector lobbyists outnumber private-sector lobbyists 10 to 1 at the capitol, and public-sector lobbyists are rarely there to ask for less money. When the state can’t fund core functions of government, there is no excuse for spending millions of dollars on lobbyists.
General Fund Savings: Unknown