Tax Reform

Americans are a hard-working bunch and should keep what they earn. Our ideas for tax reform reduce the burden of taxes while ensuring governments have the resources to focus on core responsibilities.

<p>Americans are a hard-working bunch and should keep what they earn. Our ideas for tax reform reduce the burden of taxes while ensuring governments have the resources to focus on core responsibilities. </p>

The mantra of Arizona legislators this session was “jobs, jobs, jobs” — certainly an important emphasis for any policymaker. But the desire to appear to be doing something, anything, to spur job growth sometimes sucked them into legislation that will be counterproductive to long-term economic growth.

The presidential candidates are promising some pretty pricey stuff. But you and I aren't going to have to pay for it. No, the free health care, free college, subsidized mortgages, and other goodies can be paid for by repealing President Bush's tax cuts for the rich.

Tax breaks for movie producers? As John Stossel has been known to quip, "Gimme a break!"

Recently a crowd gathered in front of the state capitol to announce support for legislation that would provide tax credits for movies made in Arizona. Rising star Hunter Gomez lamented his inability to do what he enjoys here at home, declaring "This is unacceptable and shouldn't be right." His youthful charm notwithstanding, he's wrong.

Arizona's Senate Finance Committee could prevent a record property tax hike next year by making permanent the repeal of the County Equalization Tax (CET). That tax, if it goes back into effect, will cost Arizonans $225 million in new property taxes. Every Arizonan will pay, including homeowners, business owners, and renters through their rent payments.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal cites Arizona as one of 10 states looking to raise taxes. If policymakers hope to grow our way out of this recession by luring businesses to Arizona, stories like that don't help.

It is well documented that government spending in Arizona has grown more rapidly than the population and inflation for quite some time.

Now the politicians blame you for failing to send in enough money to pay for their promises. They say there is a shortfall. They spend too much and this is a shortfall, a failure, on the part of working men and women in Arizona. It would be funny if it were not rude and insulting and plagiarized from the recent antics of politicians in Michigan and California and other failed states.

The dreaded T-word has now entered the conversation at the capitol with lawmakers suggesting putting a "temporary" tax increase on the ballot. Any such tax increase would be in addition to the mid-year restoration of the state's property tax. That increase alone, once estimated at $250 million, would be one of the biggest tax increases in state history.

The Arizona Taxpayer Protection Pledge is a commitment to the voters of Arizona that the signer will "oppose and vote against" any tax increase.

Sending a tax hike to the ballot is supporting the tax hike. Voting against sending a tax hike to the ballot is opposing the tax hike.

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.

Arizona's recent budget history looks a lot like a rollercoaster. During years with strong economic growth, policymakers allow spending to shoot up to unsustainably high levels. Then, during economic slowdowns, when tax revenues fall off, state spending goes crashing downward.

Arizona's budget really got out of control in 2006 and 2007, when the size of state government as a portion of the state economy exceeded 6.5 percent levels of spending not seen since the early 1990s.