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>

PHOENIX-The $8.2 billion budget signed today by Gov. Janet Napolitano is a 12 percent increase over last year's budget, a growth rate more than four times higher than the population growth rate of 2.6 percent. Excessive spending that outpaces the population means individual taxpayers shoulder a larger tax burden and sets the state up for fiscal crisis in times of economic slowdown.

In 1998, the City of Tempe and America West Airlines entered into an agreement to redevelop part of downtown Tempe. The city agreed to convey property to America West for free and then pay America West approximately $15 million over twenty years. In return, America West pledged to develop the property and convey ownership of the improvements back to the city. Tempe agreed to then lease the property back to America West.

If Republican leaders force Gov. Janet Napolitano to blink and sign a state budget that doesn't include her top spending wishes, it won't be because the state lacks the money.

Unlike the past three recession-plagued years, state revenues are flowing in like water through a broken dam. But squabbles over school voucher programs, all-day kindergarten, a downtown medical school and assorted other programs have produced a stalemate despite the unexpected cash.

PHOENIX-A new report examining more than 10 years of data finds Arizona taxpayers could have received $4.5 billion in tax refunds since 1992 had Arizona enacted a budget stabilization reform modeled after Colorado's Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

We hear it all the time: "If a family should be forced to reduce its budget in bad times, so should government." It has become something of a mantra among fiscal conservatives. 

PHOENIX-In her state-of-the-state address today, Arizona governor Janet Napolitano echoed her 2004 address in calling for nearly 20 new programs and increased spending on existing programs. However, Goldwater Institute analysts explain that new programs and more spending are likely to exacerbate, not solve, Arizona's policy challenges.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

According to Valley Metro's own projections, the light rail project proposed by the Maricopa Association of Governments will be inefficient in its use of public resources, ineffective at reducing traffic congestion and pollution, and unfair to county taxpayers. The county plans to spend $2.2 billion on light rail, an amount equivalent to one-third of the state's entire general fund budget. If legislators do not re-examine the county's numbers, they may make a mistake of gigantic proportions.

The dry question of whether state appropriations for higher education produce increased economic growth has provoked quite a brawl, at least by egghead standards.

The Goldwater Institute recently published a study questioning the relationship. Jon Sanders, higher education policy analyst for the John Locke Foundation, a sister free-market think tank in North Carolina, looked at two decades of data for all 50 states.

When you're lost, a good road map sure can come in handy. As Arizona enters its third year of fiscal shortfalls, we might do well to look to other states to see how they are dealing with their fiscal crises.

As Yogi Berra might say, it's deja-vu all over again. Fourteen years ago, Arizona was in a budget crisis. Revenues were insufficient to fund the appropriations in the state budget. Conventional wisdom held that there must have been something wrong with the tax system. The Democratic governor appointed a blue-ribbon commission to recommend appropriate solutions to the "structural deficit."

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