The state's current revenue shortfall is causing the Arizona Department of Administration to call for minimal or even no pay raises for state employees next year. (AP via AZ Daily Star)
While the trend has gotten better over the last few years (it's amazing what a Democratic governor can do, even in the face of an actively hostile legislative leadership!), historically, Arizona state employees are woefully underpaid compared to their private-sector counterparts. In addition, they are the last to benefit from economic (and tax revenue) growth periods, and the first to take a hit when the economic cycle inevitably turns.
Or as with the fiscal issues currently facing Arizona, when the ideologically - (and campaign contribution - ) driven and jaw-droppingly stupid tax cuts of the last couple of budget cycles kick in.
With their constant undermining of the effectiveness of government through underfunding both the organs of government as well as the people who are tasked with making it all work, the Republicans have set up a vicious cycle of complaining about how the taxpayer shouldn't fund ineffective government leading to budget cuts leading to ineffective government leading to more complaints about the ineffective government and so on...
And trust me, one of the best ways to make an organization, any organization, ineffective, is to set it up so that the staff of the organization is in a constant state of turnover, not allowing the organization to grow, sustain, and retain its institutional knowledge.
One could say that the Republicans behind the huge tax cuts don't know what they're doing, but they do know.
They just don't care.
Better to mindlessly fund tax cuts for the wealthiest Arizonans and for corporations than to *ever* stand accused of the conservative heresy of "governing responsibly."
This issue deserves much more consideration than I can give it tonight, but Michael Bryan at Blog For Arizona has a much more lucid and eloquent take on the subject here.