Tax cut debate and why some think 'Arizona's gov't is a huge mess

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With the Arizona state budget in crisis, there is no shortage of ideas on how to bring the budget into balance.

Phoenix Magazine columnist, Jana Boomersbach, says ideas from one group just don't add up. Tom Jenney, the state director for Americans for Prosperity, says, "The Arizona government is in a huge huge mess right now. And that is one of the few things on which Jenney and Jana Boomersbach agree because Boomersbach says, "The heart of the matter is these people hate government. This is the starve the beast crowd , ok, these are the people who want to dismantle government. "

That is at the heart of their disagreement, can we cut our way to prosperity? Jenney says, " We ought to be leaning this government down to where it is doing the only functions...it's doing just the very basic functions it has to do." But Boomersbach counters, " I could not imagine any state in the nation that could survive the kinds of cuts they want to make."  

Jenney says it has to start with school. " The first place we need to look if we are serious about cutting spending, we need to look at k-12 education. It is the biggest program in the budget. It is 45-percent of the state budget."  And he says we need to take a lesson from charter schools, " Charter schools are still public schools they are just public schools under independent management and they get less money.And frankly i think that is a good deal.

You get less bureaucratic overhead, less paperwork in return for less money, and that is a great way of doing things."  But Boomersbach says beware, "Big business like that they are not in this to provide a service, they are in it to make money. That is fine, but you've got to remember that is their motivation. I will tell you cutting K-12 sounds very sexy, it is a huge part of the budget, obviously there has got to be waste and corruption somewhere in there. But I will tell you we are 48th, 49th or 50th on spending on education in the nation.

The huge amount we see in the budget, is what everybody else thinks is loose change." But Jenney says everyone benefits from spending more wisely." This is going to be good for kids. It's going to be good for parents, it is going to be good for classroom teachers. Because we are going to make sure the money gets into the classroom.

The bad news is if you are a school administrator, if you are sitting in a district building pushing paper around, we are sorry your job is on the line."  Jenney would like to see other savings as well, from the Department of Commerce to the state library, he says there is lots of waste and ways to cut. While boomersbach sees lots of ways to waste opportunities, "To some extent there is you whole philosophy of government, should government be there to support the arts. And my answer is no, the government should not do that."

This is a state that tourism is our number two industry. How do you have a tourism industry in a state with no parks. Isn't that cutting off your nose to spite your face."  Another thing both Jenney and Boomersbach agree on, is that people ned to get more involved and pay more attention.

A good place to start check out Boomersbach's column in the March issue of Phoenix Magazine, and proposals from Americans for prosperity at thier website, www.americansforprosperity.org/arizona.