Government Spending

No government has ever spent its way to prosperity. Our proposals help governments be fiscally responsible so citizens can be prosperous.

<p>No government has ever spent its way to prosperity. Our proposals help governments be fiscally responsible so citizens can be prosperous.</p>

The legislature’s 2007 budget proposal has been released and it adds up to $9.9 billion in state spending. The governor asked for $10.1 billion. Either way, state spending will increase at least 19 percent over this year.

The good news is that the legislature has proposed cutting income and property taxes by $500 million over two years. But with a $1 billion surplus, it begs the question, why not more?

The Arizona Republic reports that “Cheap Parking May Hurt Light Rail,” stating:

“It costs less to park in downtown Phoenix than in downtown Boise, Idaho. In fact, downtown Phoenix garages cost less than a third of the national average, with supply dwarfing demand... That may be bad news for the Valley's light-rail system, as cheap and widespread parking in the core can discourage transit ridership.”

Harry Hopkins, an advisor to then-President Franklin Roosevelt, once said the Democrats' plan was to "Spend and spend, tax and tax, elect and elect." This proved to be a winning electoral strategy for the New Dealers for some time.

There has been much dispute lately over how well-funded public employee pension systems are. The debate derives, in part, from how we define “funded”.

Employees and employers contribute to pension funds, and those contributions are invested in stocks, bonds, real estate and other investment vehicles. These assets help finance current and future pension benefits. Pensions are considered almost rock-solid promises, so the contributions and investment earnings need to be enough to cover the benefit payments owed to current and future retirees.

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.