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>

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.

Sound familiar?

Holy misdirection, Batman! Only sitting elected officials could make a spending problem seem like an economic illness.

Arizona's state revenues are short an estimated $600 million for 2008, just three months into the fiscal year. The culprit cited is a slowing housing market and falling home values.

However, under Governor Napolitano, every budget from 2004 to 2007 has grown faster than Arizonans' collective personal income. Nearly 7 percentage points faster in 2004, 12.3 points faster in 2005, 5.7 points faster in 2006, and 0.5 point faster in 2007.

The Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) has released its latest Urban Mobility Report. The good news is that Phoenix is not the most congested city measured (15th worst out of the 85 areas examined). The bad news is that congestion is getting worse and it is costing Phoenicians lost time and wasted fuel.

President Bush is probably on the losing end of the political argument over his veto last week of the expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program. But that's in part because he hasn't established a pattern of vetoing excessive spending.

Arizona Republic reporter Pat Kossan is writing a series on school choice program accountability, the most recent investigates a School Tuition Organization (STO). There is both more and less to this story than meets the eye.

The STO, the Arizona Scholarship Fund, used funds raised through Arizona's scholarship tax credit law to help mentally disabled adults attend K-12 level classes.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez recently announced plans for a new curriculum for all Venezuela schools. Criticizing the old school model as "colonial, capitalist, and soul-destroying," Chavez promised a new model: "We want to create our own ideology collectively." Private schools will also be forced to embrace the new curriculum and those that don't comply will be closed or nationalized.

In June, the Goldwater Institute released A Test of Credibility. The essence of the argument: Arizona's Terra Nova exam produces unrealistically high scores (above the national average in every subject and grade level), when national tests show Arizona­ consistently below the national average.­ Both results can not be true.

A recent Arizona Republic letter to the editor lamented the fact that our government funds war, but not universal health care. The writer asks what that says about our values. That letter got me thinking, what does government spending say about our values?

The City of Phoenix's $97.4 million subsidy to a developer to build the lavish CityNorth Project-we've dubbed it the Taj Mah-Mall-was based on the developer's estimate that it would need more than $100 million to break even on the deal.

This is called a "feasibility gap"-but the credibility gap is even wider. The city's own independent consultant estimated the feasibility gap at only $25 million.

A prominent public official recently said that due to dedicated revenue spending and spending that is dictated by past voter initiatives, the Arizona legislature directly controls only 35 percent of state spending.

If that's true, and assuming that half the money budgeted for this fiscal year has been spent by January, the $600 million shortfall represents one-third of the remaining discretionary funds for the 2008 fiscal year. No wonder legislators are hesitant to rely only on budget cuts to balance the state budget.