First, from the Arizona Republic, written by Alia Beard Rau (emphasis added) -
The Arizona Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey will have about $250 million in additional ongoing revenue to work with as they begin develop the fiscal 2017 budget over the next few months, according to the latest projections from state financial experts.
But looking further to the future, experts painted a grim picture that could complicate the ongoing debate over increasing funding for K-12 schools.
Economists who serve on the state Financial Advisory Committee said they've given up on the arrival of any post-recession boom and warned that the next recession could come within the next couple of years.
They recommended state leaders neither institute any new major tax cuts nor any significant spending increases.
Presenting the main R talking point when they rationalize continuing to underfund Arizona's education system: "We can't afford it."
However, don't expect them to let that argument stop them from blowing up the state's budget.
From the "Tax Justice" blog from the Citizens for Tax Justice, written by Sebastien Johnson -
Plans to eliminate the state income tax in Arizona continue, with State Rep. Darin Mitchell telling officials that the push will come during the next legislative session. Mitchell, who chairs the Arizona House Ways and Means Committee, says the current strategy is to fight for a flat income tax that can be slowly eliminated over time: “We want to go to a flat tax next year, and then, maybe over the next five or six years we’ll ratchet down the collection until it no longer exists. We’ll just increase sales tax, on certain items.” Mitchell expects that Gov. Doug Ducey, who ran for election on a platform of eliminating the income tax, will support his plan. Were Mitchell’s plan to actually go forward, tax fairness in Arizona would become much worse. According to ITEP’s Who Pays? report, Arizona has the 8th most unfair tax system in the country, and the bottom 20 percent pay almost three times as much in taxes as a share of their income as do the top one percent.
AZBlueMeanie and Bob Lord at Blog for Arizona offer their takes on this topic (far more eloquent and informative than mine, too); the budget update presentation from the lege's Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) is available here.
...As much as I'm enjoying the spectacle of DC Republicans eating their own, also known as the fight over the speakership in the US House of Representative, there is a significant downside to it -
It is giving some of the wingnuts far more media exposure than they merit.
One example of this is Arizona's own Congressman Trent Franks.
Never known as one of the brightest bulbs in Congress, Franks seems to be focused on reducing intellectual expectations faced by Congressional Republicans.
From TalkingPointsMemo, written by Katherine Kreuger (emphasis added) -
Yes, he wants the leader of his chamber of Congress to be someone who would lead the House membership to horrible deaths. In an interview with MSNBC, Freedom Caucus member Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), offered a roll call of acceptable candidates for speaker. He named Reps. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Jeff Miller (R-FL), Tom Price (R-GA), and Jim Jordan (R-OH). He even mentioned Newt Gingrich, who was speaker from 1995 to 1999.
"I hear a lot of names. All of those men are Valley Forge Americans that would serve this country very well," Franks said, referencing the winter military camp where more than 2,500 of George Washington's troops died of starvation and exposure during the Revolutionary War.
Now, skilled mediator that I am (OK, not really :) ), I propose that House Republicans, since they are unable to find a candidate for Speaker that the all like, they should compromise by choosing one that they all dislike -