No government has ever spent its way to prosperity. Our proposals help governments be fiscally responsible so citizens can be prosperous.
With election fever behind us, the cold light of reality has dawned and the state's fiscal outlook is being realistically assessed. Governor Napolitano has acknowledged that this year's budget shortfall is at least $1.2 billion.
With less than a month before the 2010 fiscal year begins, Governor Brewer has announced a specific budget plan that proposes cuts in spending of less than $1 billion. The Governor's cuts for 2010 are smaller than those already made in 2009, despite the state's staggering deficit of nearly $3.5 billion.
Senate President Bob Burns wisely has chosen to make solving the state's budget deficit job one for the Arizona Legislature. And yet after four months, they still haven't reached an agreement. What's the holdup?
There's a lot of talk about Governor Janet Napolitano leaving Arizona for Washington, D.C. But before she leaves, she should clean up the mess she has made of our state budget.
Since taking office in 2003, Napolitano has prodded the legislature to grow state budgets at an average rate of 12 percent annually, much faster than the growth rate of the state's private economy, which grows at 7 or 8 percent annually during economic boom times.
James Madison, writing in the Federalist Papers, explained the importance of states rights by noting that the powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. These days, the pendulum of federalism has swung out of balance, favoring federal encroachment over state sovereignty.
Several states are facing some tough fiscal times. California's overspending problem amounts to more than $14 billion for the 2009 fiscal year. New Jerseys spending versus revenue gap could be $3.5 billion. Virginia and Massachusetts each face $1.2 billion gaps. Arizona's gap for 2009 is estimated at $1.7 billion.
The Morrison Institutes Beat the Odds report related a disturbing prediction made at an academic conference concerning Arizona's future:
Kentucky's leading demographer, pointed to a map of the United States and said, The Southwest will be the Appalachian region of the 21st Century. Why?
Because, he said, Demography is destiny.
In her State of the State address, Governor Napolitano made two rather remarkable statements. She said, I have always presented you with a balanced budget plan that moved Arizona forward, and We have passed a balanced budget every year.
Largely lost amidst attention over Super Tuesday was Sen. Hillary Clinton's admission on Sunday that her proposed universal health care program would come with a huge dose of government coercion.
Associated Press reported that Clinton said she would achieve universal coverage by "going after people's wages" and "automatic enrollment." The healthy must support the sick, the senator insists, and must be forced to join a government health insurance program willingly or not.
Well, blow me down, they did it--and with two and a half months to spare. The legislature and the governor have agreed on a fix for the fiscal 2008 budget. Both sides can claim victory and defeat, so the deal appears an artful compromise.
Going into the negotiations, the state faced a $1.2 billion budget shortfall, with budgeted spending projected to exceed revenues by almost 13 percent. Lets look at the math of the new deal: