Monday, April 25, 2011

More AZ Legislature stupidity

Many in our state legislature have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge of Americans for Tax Reform, in which they vow to never vote for any tax increase.  As evidence of the anti-tax zeal of our legislators they even pushed through a very large corporate tax cut during the legislative session that just ended - before they got around to dealing with our current state budget, which is $1 Billion in the red.  Never mind that any future shortfalls in state revenues that might result from those budgets cuts (if the projected increased revenues due to expanded business activity in the state fails to cover the foregone taxes) will have to be made up somehow - and the state budgets are cut pretty much to the bone at this point.  They are also reducing state-shared revenues to the cities and counties, which will have to be made by either cutting local services or raising local taxes (property or sales) and forcing cities and counties to fund things that the state previously did - like housing prisoners short-term.  And more recently they passed legislation, that has since been signed by the governor, that determines how certain state agencies can spend the money they have available to them and permits the Department of Water Resources to make up a gap in its budget (caused by the legislature taking away previous general fund appropriations) by imposing a new tax on municipalities in the state (they call it a fee in the bill, so maybe they think that means it's not really a tax).

So, no, our state legislature will not permit the imposition of new taxes that would violate their pledge.  But they have no compunction about establishing rules that require other entities to increase taxes to make up for revenue shortfalls that result from fund sweeps, budget cuts, and sweetheart tax breaks to favored entities.  Way to be consistent in your ideology folks.

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