State should spend less, hold line on taxes

By Tom Patterson
Goldwater Institute
Fiscal conservatives in Arizona are in shock. After six years of watching Gov. Janet Napolitano’s fiscal mismanagement drive our state to the brink of disaster, there was hope for relief earlier this year.

Our new governor, the conservative Jan Brewer, would have the courage and good sense to set us back on course to recovery.

It hasn’t worked out that way. Right out of the box, she opined that she might possibly consider a tax increase to balance the budget if all other options had been exhausted. When politicians talk like that, it usually means hold on to your wallet, and this time was no exception.

Soon after, she included a non-specified $1 billion tax hike in her budget reform proposal. “Maturing” rapidly, in the eyes of the mainstream local press, she then threatened a veto for any budget that didn’t include new taxes. Now her supporters, with her approval, have threatened a $225,000 media campaign against fellow Republicans who refuse to inflict more taxes on Arizonans during a recession.

Arizona lost 170,000 jobs from February 2008 to February 2009, the second-highest job loss in the nation. During that same time period, government added 4,500 net jobs. With families and businesses across the state cutting back and coping the best they can, sending more of our resources to the growing government sector is just nuts.

Admittedly, Brewer is in a tough spot trying to remediate the consequences of Napolitano’s reckless spending. But her budget proposal doesn’t do anything to solve our predicament. Under her plan, state revenues, currently in free-fall, would have to grow 40 percent in two years to have a balanced budget, after the temporary tax and stimulus funds were depleted. That’s not going to happen.

The only solution to a spending problem is to spend less. That’s not pleasant, but the alternative is worse. Principled, responsible leadership is more than kicking the can down the road. Just ask California.
Tom Patterson is chairman of the Goldwater Institute and a former state senator.


  1. Antifederalist says

    I agree, Mr. Patterson, spending less is the key. However, it would be helpful if rather than just saying spend less, you propose and actual balanced budget. I’d like to see what a Goldwater Inst. balanced budget would look like, replete with numbers. Perhaps if you propose an actual budget, you might find that an ardent conservative legislator might take up your cause.

  2. kralmajales says

    Hahahaha remember that you all controlled the House and the Senate during this so called time of disaster. Your budgets and your compromises along with that of the Governor. Also, you spent quite a bit on things like prisons, law enforcement, border stuff, and the like. Some of the largest spending of all. So, now you try to blame this on the Democrats…nice try!

    As I have said before, you all cut govt to the bone, Janet tried to restore it, then you cut it again. You bet on growth to bring in revenues and like playing a slot machine, you lost. Now, we have no tax base, still some of the lowest spending on government in the country, and one of the worst economies and deficits of all.

    Spending is not the problem here folks. It is the other side of the balance sheet.

Leave a Reply