NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 25, 2007

When Ariz. Governor Janet Napolitano says she is not going to raise your taxes to pay for her budget priorities, the operative word is your.  The $400 million in debt financing she recommends is simply a way of forcing the citizens of tomorrow to pay for programs today, says Tom Patterson, chairman of the Goldwater Institute.

  • The governor's 2008 budget calls for an 11 percent increase in spending over this year -- which itself was 20 percent higher than 2006.
  • Adding another $407 million to our debt load "balances" the budget and allows her to claim a budget increase of just 6.9 percent.

Advocates argue that debt financing capital projects, principally school buildings, is the same as individuals using mortgages to pay for their homes.  The correct comparison would be financing routine expenses with an interest-bearing credit card.  Building schools is a recurring annual state government expense, says Patterson.

The governor is often portrayed as a fiscal conservative who can find creative ways to fund lots of stuff without raising taxes.  But the nonpartisan Cato Institute isn't impressed.  They awarded her one of the few F's they handed out last year for exceptionally poor fiscal performance.  If the governor's spending recommendations are critical, she should support taxing today's voters to pay for them, says Patterson.

Source: Tom Patterson, "Read My Lips: Governor's debt plans will leave future taxpayers with a hefty tab," Goldwater Institute, January 23, 2007.


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