Avoiding California's budget blunder

Posted on May 21, 2009 | Author: Steve Voeller
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Arizona lawmakers and Gov. Brewer should heed the political fallout of the California ballot measures that failed in yesterday’s special election.

Voters were asked to approve five measures consisting of tax increases, new borrowing, and fund sweeps to help address California’s $42 billion budget deficit. All failed by wide margins. A sixth measure, one that prohibited a legislative pay raise when there’s a deficit, passed comfortably.

This is a huge wake-up call for all politicians in Arizona. Following a barrage of campaign ads that threatened deep cuts in education, police, fire, and health care services, voters in California rejected new taxes and told politicians to fix the mess they made.

I hope lawmakers and the governor have a new appreciation for just how irritable taxpayers are right now. We elect our leaders to make tough decisions, not punt them to us.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the California Teachers Association and its national affiliate, the National Education Association, spent $12.2 million in support of the ballot measures. The CTA also gave nearly $2 million to a campaign committee backing all six measures. The YES campaign spent $27 million. The NO campaign spent $4.3 million. 

California has the fourth-highest unemployment rate in the country. More people have moved out of California than in over the last five years. California’s income taxes are among the highest in the U.S.

Are Arizona’s lawmakers paying attention?

Steve Voeller is president of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance policies that promote a strong and vibrant Arizona economy.

Learn More:

Arizona Free Enterprise Club: Tax Increase in California Can Be Boon for Arizona

Goldwater Institute: Don’t Raise Taxes, Governor

Goldwater Institute: How to Restructure Arizona’s Tax Code: A Smarter, Flatter Tax Plan to Create Jobs

Los Angeles Times: California voters kill budget measures

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