Its going to take a lot of hard work to address the states growing general-fund budget shortfall. Earlier this year, the Goldwater Institute issued 100 ideas for Arizona lawmakers to consider. Here are some that address the states financial health:
Enact an expenditure limit that restricts government spending growth to the rate of population growth and inflation. If state spending had been so restricted since 2002, the state would today have a surplus of roughly half-a-billion dollars.
Conform the state budget to the debt limit and special law requirements of the Arizona Constitution. The states constitutional prohibition on excessive debt has been weakened and circumvented in countless clever but ultimately dangerous ways.
Enact a Spending Accountability and Transparency Act requiring the state to post expenditures online, as well as state contracts. Openness invites fiscal restraint.
Get the state out of businesses that the private sector does better. Stop funding the public Tourism Authority and the Arizona Commission on the Arts, for example.
We could save a lot by getting the private sector involved in building roads and educating our children, as well.
Eliminate corporate subsidies and tax breaks for favored industries. Why should Arizona taxpayers subsidize the biotech industry to the tune of $25 million a year?
Prohibit state government entities from spending taxpayer money on lobbying and self-promoting publicity.
The message is simple: If we think creatively and act courageously, we can bring our budget back into balance.
Katie Nutter is communications director for the Goldwater Institute.
Read the Arizona Republic article, "State has cheaper options to bonding" by Dr. Matthew Ladner here.
Goldwater Institute: A Comparison of State Spending Growth under Arizona Governors