Government Spending

No government has ever spent its way to prosperity. Our proposals help governments be fiscally responsible so citizens can be prosperous.

<p>No government has ever spent its way to prosperity. Our proposals help governments be fiscally responsible so citizens can be prosperous.</p>

In 2000, Arizona’s pension funds were considered some of the healthiest in the nation. Just over a decade later, Arizona now has the dubious distinction of seeing the third worst decline in its pension fund health among the states from 2000 to 2009. For too long, policymakers and pension fund managers have assumed their investments would have endless high returns and little or no risk. The last decade and two recessions have proven otherwise, and Arizona’s retirement systems are on shaky ground.

If
Arizona
's 2007 budget had a theme song, it would have to be "We're in the Money:"

We're in the money, come on, my honey,

Let's lend it, spend it, send it rolling along!

At $26 billion, our state government has a lot to lend, spend and send. But a lot compared to what?

Welfare reform is one of the great victories in recent times over relentlessly advancing government. But Arizona has lagged behind other states in getting welfare recipients into jobs. We need strong leaders to ensure Arizona doesn’t fall into the welfare trap again.

During a recent conversation on the use of incentives to attract development, a group of economic developers acknowledged that incentives may not be a good idea all the time. But sometimes.

Enter the Vikings, those marauders coming to attack your home. At the last moment, you flash your low-interest credit card and the villains stop dead in their tracks. You've likely seen the Capital One bank ads claiming that their credit cards will just as effectively stop high interest rates. The commercial ends with a defeated Viking menacingly asking, "What's in your wallet?"

But a more important question for Arizonans may be "What's not in your wallet?"

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?

The Arizona Republic reports that “Cheap Parking May Hurt Light Rail,” stating:

“It costs less to park in downtown Phoenix than in downtown Boise, Idaho. In fact, downtown Phoenix garages cost less than a third of the national average, with supply dwarfing demand... That may be bad news for the Valley's light-rail system, as cheap and widespread parking in the core can discourage transit ridership.”

Harry Hopkins, an advisor to then-President Franklin Roosevelt, once said the Democrats' plan was to "Spend and spend, tax and tax, elect and elect." This proved to be a winning electoral strategy for the New Dealers for some time.

There has been much dispute lately over how well-funded public employee pension systems are. The debate derives, in part, from how we define “funded”.

Employees and employers contribute to pension funds, and those contributions are invested in stocks, bonds, real estate and other investment vehicles. These assets help finance current and future pension benefits. Pensions are considered almost rock-solid promises, so the contributions and investment earnings need to be enough to cover the benefit payments owed to current and future retirees.

Pages