I appreciate the opportunity to defend myself and respond to your newspaper’s indictment of my votes in favor of our state’s budget.
You lament the cuts that have been made and the fact that I did not pursue higher taxes as a solution to our state’s budget woes. You suggest that letting criminals out of jail earlier would save us money. And you refer again and again to “the children” as victims of the budget that was passed, particularly in the area of education.
Your advocacy for liberal solutions is not a surprise. You have endorsed my liberal opponents in every race I have ever run. You were a cheerleader for the big-spending policies of then-Gov. Janet Napolitano that dug the hole that Arizona now finds itself in. You have a knee-jerk reaction against the education reforms that would provide parents with more and better choices for their children’s education, denying them a better education for less money.
You ignore the inefficiencies that are present in our university systems that increase the cost of an education without improving the quality of that education. In many cases, these are expenses that often have nothing to do with the education of the students.
The facts are that Arizona has, for the first time in a long time, passed a budget that is honest, gimmick-free, and balanced. This is what the voters demanded, it is what we campaigned on, and it is what we were elected to do.
Your newspaper disagreed with the voters and their choices in almost every race, but today’s economic environment demands that government’s insatiable desire for taxpayer dollars be tamed and that fiscal sanity is finally restored to the public arena. Every two years the Democratic candidates for office talk about raising taxes as a core pillar of their platform. The voters continue to reject that plan because they are already overtaxed in a dismal economic environment.
We would all be better off if the politicians in Washington, D.C., took their responsibility to balance the budget as seriously as we did here in Arizona. If our economy improves and our tax receipts exceed projections then we will certainly be revisiting some of the tougher cuts that we have had to make. Until then, the East Valley Tribune had it right in their editorial when they wrote about the budget, “Whether you’re a big corporation, a small business, a newspaper or the state government, the amount of money going out cannot be greater than what’s coming in. That’s Economics 101.”
They concluded, “The Legislature’s actions aren’t going to be popular, but they are necessary to reverse government’s free-spending ways of the last decade and keep our state out of debt.”