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Governor Janet Napolitano may have cinched her reelection later this year by reaching a tax cut deal with the Republican-dominated legislature.
After months of rancorous debate, an agreement was finally sealed last week, greased by a state budget surplus expected to exceed $1 billion -- meaning there were enough goodies to pass out to both sides to make a compromise easy to swallow. Arizona's income tax will fall from 5.04% to 4.54%, and property taxes will also be cut under the legislative bargain.
We've all spent long hours in doctors' waiting rooms after waiting weeks just to get an appointment. It's no secret that Arizona has a doctor shortage. A 2001 Goldwater Institute study revealed that Arizona has 172 physicians per 100,000 residents; the recommended ratio is 195 physicians per 100,000 residents.
Some assume the shortage stems from a lack of medical schools in Arizona. That's the rationale for Governor Napolitano's approval of $7 million in first-year funding for a downtown medical school.
Thanks largely to an increase in individual income tax receipts, state tax collections topped $1 billion in April, leaving the state flush with cash.
The Legislature had adopted a measure directing excess taxes into the state's rainy day fund, but the governor vetoed that saving measure.
The governor's budget adviser suggests the money is needed for the "state's basic and most critical needs." Like such "critical needs" as classes for state employees in "self-massage, tai chi," and "surviving the supermarket"? Please.
There are a few issues on which economists almost unanimously agree, but because of public misconception or the haphazard detouring of the political process, that universal agreement never gets transferred to the public arena.
When government issues debt, you probably think it’s paying for the construction of a highway or water and sewer improvements – the sort of things that we usually expect government to provide.
Every Arizona household’s debt is getting bigger—but most people don’t even know they owe. In Arizona, every man, woman and child owes state and local governments more than $7,500 for bills ranging from sports stadiums to parking garages.
The Social Security reform debate is over for now. But as any ostrich can tell you, sticking your head in the sand doesn't solve the problem. According to the Annual Report of the Social Security and Medicare trustees, the Social Security benefits we've promised but cant pay rose more than $200 billion last year alone.
State Rep. Phil Lopes says that with his proposal to provide government-run health insurance to every resident of the state any person could visit a doctor any time, yet no health care provider would be forced to accept lower payments. That's not exactly the way government health programs work.
Patients in Canada and the United Kingdom commonly wait up to a year to see a doctor, while providers, especially of primary care, are becoming scarce due to declining revenue. Our Medicare and Medicaid systems are plagued with the same problems.
The Arizona Senate is recommending $7 million in business tax cuts this year, with many senators saying the state cannot afford more. That represents 0.06 percent of the Senates $10.6 billion budget proposal. By contrast, the Arizona House was able to come up with $46 million in recommended business tax cuts. To paraphrase occasional presidential candidate and magazine publisher Steve Forbes, maybe its the politicians we cant afford.
If car insurance were structured like health insurance, oil changes would cost only a few dollars with a co-payment. Low-income car owners would qualify for free coverage. Oil would be changed constantly, with the insured demanding the best, most expensive oil be used. Mechanics would not be able to keep up with demand; they would have to raise their prices regularly to comply with increasing compliance costs from insurance companies. Needless repairs would be frequent because car owners would have little incentive to prevent them.