Anyone who has been following the efforts to close the budget gap will have seen the Democrats and their liberal allies pushing their attacks on Republicans for the inevitable spending cuts that are necessary to close the gap. Of course, it wouldn’t take a political genius to foresee that these attacks would focus almost exclusively on possible cuts in education. This is smart politics and it plays well in the press.
Strangely missing though is a credible alternative from the Democrats. Their proposal of borrowing and budget gimmicks can and should be a non-starter. These tricks come straight from our former Governor’s playbook and are frankly a direct contributor the situation we face today. In essence their proposal of putting off payments until the next budget cycle in hopes of an upturn are nothing more than robbing Peter to pay Paul or in other words – a Ponzi Scheme. And like all Ponzi schemes it will collapse.
The simple fact is that there are only two ways to fix the budget problem.
Cut spending or raise taxes.
Republicans in the Legislature and Governor Brewer correctly understand that raising taxes in a tough economy will lead to more economic pain for Arizona citizens and business. Pain that in a declining job market is the last thing anyone needs.
So if raising taxes is a non-starter – not even Democrats with the exception of their new liberal State Chairman are proposing that – then the question becomes what to do?
The only answer is to cut spending, and as Democrats and their allies know, voter mandated spending is off the table. That of course leaves education squarely in the crosshairs.
It’s easy when you are in the minority to take a shot at the majority who will have to make hard choices. And politically, that is what the Democrats should and are doing. But once you get past the politics, the question still remains.
What is the alternative?