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Making tough choices the Arizona way

The Super Bowl is fast approaching and, on a whim, you buy a brand new 60-inch plasma TV, maxing out your credit card. Upon bringing the TV home, you conclude that you must upgrade your cable package to high definition so as to make the most of your extravagant purchase.

When the credit card and cable bills arrive at the end of the month, you promptly go to your boss and demand a raise so that you can afford your entertainment system. Because you’re the only employee he has, your boss has no choice but to comply, and you continue your spending spree.

Sound ridiculous? This isn’t the world in which you or I live, but this is the reality for Washington.

Our representatives in Washington are supposed to work for us, but instead, they wastefully spend our hard-earned tax dollars and bicker about even the most minor spending cuts. When Washington politicians say they “cut spending” they likely mean that they cut the rate of growth. These aren’t the real cuts that we make in our home or business budget where we have to squeeze one more year out of the old car, forgo dining out, find ways to save energy, or lay off an employee who is a personal friend. In the real world we must make hard, at times painful, choices.

In Arizona, our governor and Legislature renounced the Washington model and instead confronted reality, making difficult decisions to actually fix problems. Mayors and city councils also made tough cuts and found new and innovative approaches to deliver services. Arizona voters were engaged throughout the process as well, participating in hearings, community meetings and citizen budget committees. Together, we repaired a damaged system.

During the past three years, we cut government spending by nearly 30 percent — real spending cuts, not just the rate of growth — and recently, we cut taxes for businesses. Despite dire predictions by critics, our economy is improving and Arizona’s credit outlook was just upgraded. Unemployment is at its lowest since February 2009; more than 45,000 jobs were added this past year. And, we are projecting a budget surplus for next year.

Meanwhile, Washington spent more money and passed legislation to raise your taxes. Our national debt is higher, our credit downgraded and our economy stalled. Washington is broken. Here’s a little advice for Washington in the New Year: follow Arizona’s lead — cut spending and lower taxes. It works.

— Former House Speaker Kirk Adams, a Republican from Mesa, is running for Congress in the newly drawn 6th Congressional District.

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