Going, Going, Gone…

Greg Patterson at EspressoPundit has an excellent post on the huge mess Governor Janet Napolitano is leaving the taxpayers of Arizona as she quickly makes tracks to DC. Patterson hits it out of the park when he says,

The public, the media and most legislators have no clue how bad the the budget is. We are like someone who has been unemployed for a few years, actually increased our lifestyle by spending down our 401k and refinancing our house. Now we still have an extravagant lifestyle and all the reserves are gone. Napolitano’s level of fiscal mismanagement amounts to malfeasance.

We are going to do the unthinkable. We will be releasing thousands of non-violent prisioners who have less than a year left on their prison terms. School funding will be cut, AHCCCS reimbursements will be cut, the tax equalization rate will be allowed to rise. Double counting out-of-state college students will stop. All day Kindergarten is gone. The Science foundation is gone. The Commerce and Tourism departments? Gone. We are going to sweep the remaining funds, refuse to fund the state’s pension system, reduce the state contribution to employee health care benefits and then we are going to see large layoffs and a even then we will run out of cash and struggle to make payroll.

Thank God for elected leaders like Dean Martin who warned us about this almost a year ago. At the time, the Governor labeled Martin “Chicken Little” and accused him of crowing that “the sky is falling.” Now it’s about ready to crash down on all our heads while the “boy who cried wolf” high tails it out of town. (Sorry! I really butchered the metaphor/allegory/fables there!)


  1. Betsy Ross says

    First of all, the nonviolent criminals actually should be released from prison. The entire idea of the prison system was to separate those members of society who could not be trusted to be members of the community, not strictly as punishment, nor being beaten in tent city when there for misdemeanor violations such as the low level DUI laws now in existence in Arizona criminalizing 2/3rds the population. No wonder the jails are so expensive and so overcrowded.

    Secondly, cutting public services is the way the state government stays in control so that they can use those taxpayer sums for their nongovernmental purposes and perks. Napolitano traveled to Mexico more than she was in Arizona. And also traveled to Great Britain, Canada and Iraq on the Arizona citizen’s dime. Did many of the Arizonans cry foul when she was using their taxes in order to foster globalism and her career? The state legislature and Republicans have done the same thing with trips to Hollywood for Scientology conventions. And full day kindergarten is actually what is responsible for the fact that a good number of Arizona’s 5-6 year olds are on the designer drug, Ritalin. Five and six year olds don’t have the attention span to be in full day kindergarten, most of them, to begin with. The Chamber of Commerce should be responsible for tourism, not the state.

    So you think cutting some of those programs are a bad thing?

  2. Betsy Ross says

    Concentrate on stopping the illegal immigrant flow and getting the borders secured, and getting rid of those legislators that are using the public purse for their own careers and perks, and distributing corporate welfare to their select sovereign subjects, and getting better regulation over the large insurers, banks and other major industries in Arizona, including the real estate industry and fraud going on there, would put Arizona back in the black without the creative bookkeeping of Napolitano.

    In other words, get the legislators to follow the Constitution, and all those that won’t….give them their marching orders or impeach the treasonous traitors that they are.

  3. Iris Lynch says

    Good show, Betsey. Further, Everify and take back all the jobs now being held by illegal immigrants. The citizens will then have those jobs and the state will get some taxes it isn’t getting now. Then clean out the various state programs of illegal aliens, including the prisons and make sure that their medical care is indeed for EMERGENCY services only. That should drop a bunch of the states costs.

    And lastly, put a tape on that woman’s mouth. She has been a DICTATOR from the word go and I understand no one will be sorry to see her gone from Arizona. Good luck DC!!

  4. Shane, since this post is mostly a restating of what Greg posted, I am pasting below my response to his original post for your consideration:

    Greg, you need to go further back than one year to cite the roots of our current budgetary crisis. They date back to when the voters of this state passed the initiative that called for a “supermajority” to pass a tax hike, or even roll back tax cuts, or close loopholes. That decision has limited the decision-making ability of every governor and legislator since then.

    Janet DID contribute to this mess when she caved on unnecesary tax cuts that put a pittance in the pockets of most people and dug a further hole in our revenues.

    Republicans were in charge of the state for most of the time this was going on and many in your party were cheerleaders for the initative noted above. My main critique of Janet was that she was unwilling to expend the political capital she had to put on the table to truly take on the problems in this state. My other beef with her is that she is selfishly scurrying off to DC and leaving the foxes to guard the henhouse.

  5. Rex,

    You know I respect you even though I do not agree with you, but I truly want to know if you think the citizens of Arizona are undertaxed. If so, what would be a fair rate to increase the tax rate to? Would you raise property, sales, or state income tax to cover our spending commitments. Here’s the thing, if you put a number on it and tried to enact it, people would have your head. I’m not sure you appreciate how big that mountain is.

    Janet was horrible. Her reign was like eating a five scoop Baskin Robbins sundae for dinner. It may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but the aftermath is a stomach ache with no real nutrition. What have we really gained with double digit spending increases over the past five years? I thank God that she was kept away from the trust lands.

    Is all day kindergarten REALLY going to narrow our education gap? Was that the best use of the money, or votebuying with free daycare. Every position that Janet took eventually came down to votebuying with the state coffers. And the state press was complicit.

    Here is the thing. DHS is a crap job compared to being the governor of Arizona. Why would Janet leave? Because she knows full well what the true damage is going to end up being and wants no part of it.

    Janet is no hero.

  6. What a lame coward she is. She’s gone in two weeks so she wants to come back in 45 days to deal with the problem? Get her the hell out of this state!

  7. We all need to wake up and accept the fact that there will be “pain” across the entire state. Be prepared to hear the whining from every department head in state, county and local government as budgets are slashed and we get this financial situation under control. I’m not a pessimist at heart but if we are going to survive this, everyone is going to need to shut up, suck it up and do the right thing. It’s time to hit the “reset button” on fiscal responsibility, change our mindset and realize that government cannot and should not do everything.

  8. Framer-

    I have a great deal of regard and respect for you, too, especially after the honorable campaign you waged for the Legislature. Thanks for what you said in your post. 🙂

    My point is not that people are undertaxed, but that the supermajority rule takes options off the table that should be considered whenever we are in a crisis. Jan Brewer herself has recently said that she has not taken tax increases off the table, but she might as well because there is no way she will be able to put together the required number of votes to pass one.

    The voters of this state made a poor choice when they passed this ballot measure in the early ’90’s. It should be repealed so that all future governments can reasonably consider ALL options when dealing with deficits. The supermajority measure ensures that draconian spending cuts are the only options when we are in a crisis such as this one. I’m sure you’ll agree that tax increases have to be an option to consider in certain circumstances.

  9. Rex,

    I have to respectfully disagree with the premise of your comment (both here and on EP), namely that the super-majority requirement and tax cuts are to blame for the massive cuts that must be made to balance our gigantic deficit. The truth of the matter is quite different. The real culprit was denial of reality by the Spenders and baseless hope that the housing slump would be short-lived, despite evidence it would last 4-5 years.

    I and a handful of other conservative legislators tried in vain to warn our colleagues and others that this financial situation was coming starting in about April 2007. We were concerned that so-called “ongoing revenues” were drastically overestimated. This was before there was a widely recognized “economic slowdown.” I even went so far as to say then that the FY 2008 projections for $10.6B in revenue were way too high and we’d be lucky if we ended up with $9.8-10B.

    We were even skeptical of the “House Republican alternative budget.” Unfortunately, we were not taken seriously and dismissed as pessimists, and worse. The Ds and a few Rs dramatically increased permanent spending, especially for welfare, despite lingering uncertainty about revenues in FY 2009 and FY 2010.

    Fast forward to January 2008.

    As it turns out, we were wrong – it was TWICE AS BAD as even we expected! By now, the handful of “pessimists” had grown into a majority of the Republican caucus as our current-year “shortfall” grew month-by-month, well past $1B. Even then, when we tried to get the Spenders to listen to reason, they held on to blind hope that “it will turn around soon” and refused to make ANY meaningful cuts.

    We pleaded with them that if they would just agree to make reasonable cuts, the contingency funds could be spread out over 4 years and reduce (or perhaps prevent) the need for any “draconian” cuts. If revenues rebounded sooner than we “pessimists” expected, the cuts could always be triggered to return, if that was what it took.

    Oftentimes the solution to a complex problem really does start with simple common-sense. But no, the Spenders insisted on using up any and all contingencies and gimmicks right away – Rainy Day Fund, bonding, rollover, fund sweeps, etc. – rather than make any real cuts. Alas, there was no arguing with “hope.”

    So you see, Rex, there WERE other options when this mess began. Unfortunately, denial of reality and blind hope took the place of common sense and a sound plan. Because of this, we now find ourselves with little choice but massive cuts, which still won’t be enough.

    It is supremely ironic, really, that the Spenders’ actions in 2006-2008 made major cuts to the very programs they refused to touch then unavoidable now. Conversely, the plan the Conservatives pushed unsuccessfully during that same period would have preserved about half of those very same programs today.

    Hey Spenders, what’s that people say about “good intentions?”


  1. […] in a meeting in which he warned her that the State of Arizona was rapidly running out of money. (I wrote briefly about this last night.) He referred to Janet “51-foot ladder” Napolitano leaving the state in dire financial […]

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