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Stimulus packages that aren

Earlier this year, the Arizona Free Enterprise Club quietly preempted a slew of tax credits and subsidies proposed as an “economic stimulus” package. The package included tax subsidies for homebuyers, subsidies for solar and tourism and a bunch of other special interest goodies that only went to those who hired lobbyists. Support for the package was fleeting.
In May, the Free Enterprise Club formally opposed another economic stimulus package; this one being pushed by the state’s three universities. In an effort that would have made John Maynard Keynes proud, this package authorized taxpayers to borrow $1.4 billion from ourselves in order to build university buildings.
This proposal, which should have been renamed the Debt Enhancement package, also failed to gather steam and pick up broad-based support. As of this writing, however, it’s still part of the Senate budget package (what happens when the governor likes your plan). 
Just this week, another proposal being floated around was the same mish-mash of tax subsidies masquerading as tax cuts. In fact, it would have been great if the jobs creation package did actually include some job-promoting tax cuts.
Instead, it was comprised of subsidies for developers in downtown Phoenix, subsidies for solar manufacturing, and subsidies for research and development. Not only was broad-based tax relief not included, but a tax increase was not prevented either.
Without further action, state property taxes will increase $250 million next year when the state equalization tax comes back on the books (what happens when the governor doesn’t like your plan). This plan lacked support and didn’t make it to its own committee hearing.
The Free Enterprise Club proposed in February three ways to promote long-term economic growth: reduce Arizona’s corporate income tax, reduce Arizona’s business and personal property tax, and reduce Arizona’s capital gains tax. Doing any one of these would reduce the cost of investment capital, increase after-tax profits, encourage job growth, and spur entrepreneurship.
It’s not just the Arizona Free Enterprise Club that opposes well-intentioned, but wrong-headed stimulus packages. The Tax Foundation, a well-respected nonpartisan tax research group based in Washington, DC, offered a critique of the jobs creation package that found in part, “These programs will impose significant costs on Arizona’s general fund in the form of tax revenues foregone.”
Steve Voeller is president of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, a pro-economic growth advocacy group.

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