In last year's state budget negotiations, everyone was thrown a bone. The spending lobby received huge increases in government spending and taxpayers benefited from income and property tax relief. What a difference a year makes.
The buzz this legislative session is the curious position that theres only money for new spending, and nothing for tax relief. This continues the trend that no matter how much revenue is on the table (and Arizona revenues continue to exceed projections), lawmakers tend to focus on governments wish list before addressing what's best for Arizona's economy. That's a dangerous trend that needs to be reversed.
Pro-growth tax cuts lead to more jobs, a stronger budget, and, as a recent study by the Goldwater Institute points out, less poverty. Alternatively, government expansion through higher spending puts pressure on taxes, crowds out private sector activity, and increases unemployment. All of which lead to slower economic growth.
So, as the state budget battle gets underway, lawmakers should not place all their bets on government. Rather, they should strike a balance between spending and pro-growth income tax cuts.
Steve Voeller is president of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club.