Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cause and effect - headline edition

The headlines of two articles in the AZ Rep sum up the budgetary state of affairs in AZ.

Cause: GOP leaders: No tax hike needed for '09-10 budget

Effect: School districts hand out 5,500 layoff notices

Any other questions?

Class dismissed. Mostly because there won't be anybody available to teach it.

Kool-Aid - The official beverage of the Republican caucus of the Arizona State Legislature.


Thane Eichenauer said...

Cause: Shrinkage of private prosperity reduces government tax revenue

Effect: Everybody has to either work harder or make do with a smaller paycheck

A recession is no bed of roses for people in the private sector either. Presuming that government school teachers should somehow be exempted from the effects of the recession is galling.

Perhaps those laid off teachers can do some reading about the real cause of the recession (surpise hint: it isn't lack of regulation) so we can put it behind us sooner rather than later.

cpmaz said...

Nobody is denying that cuts are necessary due to the shrinking economy. The problem is that the Reps have, over the last couple of decades, molded the state's revenue structure in such a way as to maximize the impact of an economic downturn.

In short, they *wanted* to implement a revenue stream that was over-reliant on sales tax collections.

When things are going well, the tax burden falls disproportionately heavily on the parts of society that can least bear the burden (the poor and working classes, otherwise known as "not the wealthy and corporations").

And when things inevitably go downhill, the drastically reduced revenues serve as cover for decimating the parts of public services that the Reps don't approve of (education, human services, courts, etc.) It's no coincidence that two areas that are facing minimal cuts are prisons and police. Oh, and themselves - cuts to funding for legislative operations are minimal and unspecified.

As for education, remember that while there will be fewer teachers, there won't be fewer students in need of teaching.

In short, the kids that will be driving the state's (and country's) economy for the next four decades will be shortchanged when it comes to getting the foundation of knowledge and critical thinking skills that they will need to be creative and productive.

Not particularly wise.

Eli Blake said...

I'm not sure that Republicans so much ***wanted*** to create the present disaster as they were a combination of ideogically bound to do so and also didn't understand what they were creating. Remember most of the really massive tax cuts (and the law that they pushed and voters approved that the legislature can only raise taxes with a supermajority in both houses) happened when growth seemed unlimited and nobody seriously thought that we would ever again have an economic catastrophe as dire as this one.

cpmaz said...

Eli -

You have a far higher opinion of legislative Republicans than me.

You think that they have some decency (as a group; there are individuals who are fine human beings. Though there are fewer every session...but I digress. :) )

Anyway, you seem to believe that they have some basic decency.

The best that I can come up with is that they aren't stupid.

Thane Eichenauer said...

I'd love it if there were even 1 (dare I hope that there are 2) legislator(s) willing to start discussing imposing a similar (or greater) shrinkage of police officer and prison guard payrolls (compared to the current proposals for education budget shrinkage I hear of).

Does such a legislator exist and what is his (or her) name? I'd love to know who to recommend come 2010.

As for tax structure, I'll grant that some taxes probably work out better or smoother but the consequences of prosperity shrink is not avoidable via scientific tax design. Shrinking revenue for the private sector is going to result in reduced revenue for the public (government) sector.