Lindsay Boyd

Cactuses aren’t the only things being cultivated by the arid Arizona temperatures. State deficits are growing at an alarming rate as mismanagement of the state’s income and imminent plans for expansion of government programs are creating a hot and humid environment for Arizona legislators. “The heat is on”, but fortunately for residents, the Goldwater Institute is determined to hold state officials’ feet to the fire by highlighting the gross mismanagement of state finances and proposing alternative budget policies that would address the mounting fiscal concerns.

Founded in 1988 with the blessing of Barry Goldwater, the Goldwater Institute embodies the entrepreneurial spirit of its namesake with their shared conviction in the “innate dignity of individual human beings” and a belief that American prosperity is irrevocably dependent upon the ingenuity and ambition of its citizenry. If government creates a hostile environment for those seeking to push the envelopes of personal growth, government then becomes a barrier, rather than a conductor, of future economic success.

As a government watch-dog organization, the Goldwater Institute has produced some staggering reports regarding the condition of Arizona’s finances. In recent months, Goldwater has targeted the state’s outrageous spending and Governor Janet Napolitano’s proposed expansion of Arizona’s Medicaid program as two dangerous policy trends that must be stemmed if residents hope to avoid the inevitable pitfalls that come with sustaining a government that’s living beyond its means.

In their recent article, “Here Comes the Rain Again”, Goldwater details the alarming fiscal concerns that have left Arizona taxpayers with tremendous financial hurdles to overcome.

State government in Arizona has gorged itself for the past five years, growing at a truly unsustainable 12 percent rate. State revenue is already $300 million under budget for the fiscal year that began July 1, with the total deficit projected to hit at least $600 million.

Matters are even more grim for next year. This year's budget assumed a surplus of $400 million from last year (which didn't entirely materialize). So next year's budget will begin with a $1 billion gap between current spending and revenue levels.

Even aside from the dreadful policy implications, there are problems with the governor's proposal. For one, her proposal to use debt to balance the budget is unconstitutional. The Constitution categorically prohibits the state from contracting for more than $350,000 of debt.

Lindsay Boyd

Lindsay Boyd is the Director of Policy at the Beacon Center in Tennessee.