by David Safier
Take off the recession-era glasses, Gov. Doug Ducey.
Look around. Those bleak days of deep deficits are over.
Arizona deserves a vision for the future.
That means restoring budgets for K-12, universities, infrastructure and other basic state needs.
It’s time to show the dynamic leadership to begin aggressively repairing the damage done during those days when slashing the budget was a matter of survival.
It’s also time to recognize that it wasn’t just the recession that put the financial squeeze on Arizona.
Repeated tax cuts since 1993 shrunk state revenue by tens of billions of dollars.
Now it’s time to make the state competitive when it comes to funding K-12 and higher education. Now it’s time to make the state competitive when it comes to infrastructure for the 21st Century. Now it’s time to put money into quality of life amenities – like parks, which were stripped of funding during the recession.
There is no reason to create an artificial atmosphere of recession that keeps the state on a starvation diet. Arizona currently has a healthy budget surplus and rainy day fund.
[E]ven if voters approve taking more money from the state land trust [by voting for Proposition 123], schools will not be fully reimbursed for voter-mandated inflation funding that the Legislature illegally withheld during the recession.
Passing the plan is important. It will help schools. But it doesn’t make up for recession-era losses. It doesn’t make schools whole.