Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano delivered her 2008 State of the State Address on Monday and touched on a variety of topics including education, the economy, and public safety. But in a state where revenues have decreased from a high of 20 percent growth in 2006 to about 1.5 percent growth this year, there was no serious proposal to re-energize Arizona's economy.
The Governor devoted a significant portion of her speech to "economic prosperity," but all she really offered to address our slowing economy was the creation of yet another economic development group and a "Homebuyers' Bill of Rights." These are not bold ideas that foster economic activity.
The Arizona Free Enterprise Club believes that in an economic slowdown, tax reductions coupled with budget cuts are needed to jump-start a state's economy.
Not surprisingly, there was no mention cutting taxes, but disappointingly, there was also no mention of budget cuts. You don't dig out of a $1.2 billion deficit by only proposing new spending.
The Governor did say that she would not raise taxes to balance the budget, but even on this front, what she means exactly is not clear. There's a bill moving in the Senate that would make a temporary statewide property tax cut permanent. If no action is taken, property taxes will go up substantially in 2009. The Governor, however, has said that it's "premature" to take action on this issue.
Which is it? If you're not going to raise taxes, here's an easy way to show you mean it. It is never "premature" to tell taxpayers that their taxes aren't going up.
Steve Voeller is the president of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club.
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Arizona Republic: Napolitano focuses on future