Many people are concerned about the lack of support for education, child support, etc. in the Legislature’s recently approved budget. But, it is inevitable when the mantra of “No New Taxes” is our highest priority, as supported for years by the majority of those who voted!
The Legislature requires a 2/3 vote of its members to approve any tax increase (reflecting the voters’ approved initiative in the 1990s). But it has no 2/3 vote restriction for cutting taxes, giving corporate tax breaks, etc. After 20 years or so, what results is grossly underfunded public services. The Legislature also does not really “debate” the level of government services needed and wanted by the electorate, Instead, it puts forth its “No New Taxes” ideology, along with cutting the size of “evil” government. So government services, as expected, have withered.
We need to reframe the “No New Taxes” ideology as an evasion by the Legislature of its responsibility, including to the state Constitution, to adequately provide the revenue for needed government services. We need to rethink government as our servant and the provider of desired services, not the “enemy.” We need to hold legislators accountable for being irresponsible in providing inadequate revenues. Otherwise we will continue to cut, cut, cut … and decline.
With responsible funding, we can start moving Arizona upward from our now low rankings among the states in education, child support, etc. Let’s rethink the worn-out ”No New Taxes” ideology and become responsible adults! For the 60+ percent of the public who did not vote in the last election, start making your voices heard by voting in the future for a responsible and responsive legislature.
– George Krebs lives in Tempe.