In order to put Arizona’s budget back on solid ground, legislators need to prevent more money from going out the door. As your editorial (http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/2008/09/25/20080925thur1-25.html”>September 25, “Let’s get to work”) rightly noted, “It is always easier to save money that you haven’t yet spent.” The governor is right for taking tax increases off the table, as they would serve only to further damage the state’s economy.
Arizona has the largest budget gap, expressed as a ratio of revenues to expenditures, for any state in the country this year. Next year will be just as dire. It is imperative that the governor and legislature work together, sooner rather than later, to rein in government spending.
The budget problems confronting the state are not a result of lagging revenue, but over-spending. In addition to reducing expenditures, the state also needs to look into more innovative governing solutions, such as privatizing state services and infrastructure and enacting more stringent tax and expenditure limits.
John Nothdurft ([email protected]) is the budget and tax legislative specialist for The Heartland Institute.