No government has ever spent its way to prosperity. Our proposals help governments be fiscally responsible so citizens can be prosperous.
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.
Guess who owns the tallest hotel in Arizona: Westin? Hyatt? Ritz-Carlton?
By 2009, the answer will be the City of Phoenix, which will open a 31-story, 1,000-room hotel offering Sweet Sleeper beds and other amenities. And if Mayor Phil Gordon has his way, Phoenix's hotel gambit may double in size soon thereafter.
What if you got a letter from the state asking for a donation to help balance the state's budget? Would you give? As crazy as that sounds, some lawmakers think you should, and worse, they don't even want to give you the option.
According to the East Valley Tribune, one prominent lawmaker wants to raise property taxes:
Assistant Senate Minority Leader Senator Jorge Garcia has his sights set particularly on an early end to the three-year suspension of a state property tax, a move that would bring in nearly $200 million. "The reality is, I would love to do it," he said.
Words like "crisis" and "pain" describe the state budget situation. The revenue shortfall for this fiscal year, once thought to be as high as $600 million, now looks to be somewhere north of $800 million. Next year looks even worse.
But trouble can be the mother of opportunity. Lawmakers may, for the first time, have a realistic chance to reform one of the structural anomalies that caused the problem in the first place, the Voter Protection Act (VPA).
Heres a seldom-reported fact. Our recent housing bubble was caused by government. The intended consequence was to stimulate the economy. But below-market interest rates produced above-market real estate values.