Rep. Tobin handles AZ budget responsibly

| September 23 2012
Hannah Thoreson

Arizona’s Republican party is often described as “extreme” on fiscal issues, but House Speaker Andy Tobin helped them to pass a budget that is both responsible and avoids making the worst type of cuts.  And (an unfortunate rarity these days), Tobin’s budget balances.

Tobin pointed out in an editorial he wrote recently that “Despite the fact that we made no cuts in essential services, while providing $150 million for statewide K-12 education funding, $21 million for universities and $100 million for health and welfare programs, there never seems to be enough spending to satisfy” the demands of advocates for an ever-larger government.  Of course, states aren’t cursed with the ability to borrow infinite sums of money from foreign countries or big banks, so when they want to spend more there usually has to be a realistic plan to pay for it.  States have to do a somewhat better job of determining what spending is actually necessary.

The Tobin budget is fantastic for a number of reasons.  It increases funding for education and a few other weak areas while setting aside $450 million for the rainy day fund.  Given that during the last budget crisis the state ended up selling off some buildings and leasing them back, it seems smart to plan ahead.  Of course, the Democrats in the state legislature would prefer to spend the money in the here-and-now.

It’s absurd that Arizona’s legislature can pass a real, balanced budget that achieves what it needs to on time, while Senator Harry Reid cannot find a single vote for President Obama’s budget.  It has been over 1,200 days since the U.S. Senate has passed a budget.  If you ask me, that’s the truly extreme position to be in.

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