2/23/2012 1:09:00 PM Editorial: State should stay stingy a while longer in budget
A few good economic signs pop up on the horizon from time to time, but not nearly enough for Arizona to begin loosening the purse strings.
As the state budget process begins to move, the Republican lawmakers have offered up a budget that equals the current budget. That means all departments will have continue to live on what they scraped by with in 2011, if this budget were to be adopted.
But this budget made Gov. Brewer so angry she stopped budget talks.
As cold-hearted as their past actions have been toward K-12 education, the Republican are closer to the right track than the governor is. Their budget is proof of pessimism that many working people in the state still have. It is not so much predicting no growth in the economy as it is preparing for the one-cent sales tax to end and take its $1 billion with it.
That was the deal when voters crossed their fingers and approved the temporary sales tax three years ago. That helped tide us over and even accumulate a little surplus. But the sun is setting on that money just as it was meant to.
There are certainly ways to reconstruct the appropriations within the first budget offerings in order to help schools. Legislators could reallocate something closer to what the Governor wants in books, computers and supplies for K-12 ($100 million). But allocating funds that have no guarantee of showing up, which seems to be the Governor’s plan, is no way to budget.
Wishing the economy better does not work. Frugality of the most painful variety is still called for.
At this early stage in the game, there is $200 million gap between the Governor’s wants and the House and Senate Appropriations committees’ proposal. Lawmakers have months to work on this once there is a pause in the posturing.
Far stronger and more consistent proof of a recovering economy needs to arrive before Arizona can stop being so tight-fisted with the budget.