The legislature’s 2007 budget proposal has been released and it adds up to $9.9 billion in state spending. The governor asked for $10.1 billion. Either way, state spending will increase at least 19 percent over this year.
The good news is that the legislature has proposed cutting income and property taxes by $500 million over two years. But with a $1 billion surplus, it begs the question, why not more?
In short, legislators want to spend the rest. This year’s legislative proposal is $1.7 billion higher than the 2006 budget. In the end, taxpayers will see very little difference from all this new spending. Aside from the big ticket items like $350 million for highways and an additional $180 million for education, it’s basically across the board funding increases.
Without a constitutional spending limit, state government will continue to consume more of Arizonans’ prosperity. Since 1979, general fund spending has increased every year except in 2002 and 2003 when we were in a recession.
Barry Goldwater summed up the situation best when he wrote: “Where is the politician who has not promised to fight to the death for lower taxes--and who has not proceeded to vote for the very spending projects that make tax cuts impossible?” Where indeed.
Noah Clarke is an economist with the Goldwater Institute Center for Economic Prosperity.
-Goldwater Institute: "Setting a Good Example"
- Arizona Daily Star: "Arizona lawmakers must reverse recent trend of reckless spending"
- Arizona Republic: “Budget plan seeks tax cuts, immigration action”