Monday, March 15, 2010

Governor's chief of staff to Cattle Growers: AZ's woes should sound familiar

From all reports I've heard, Eileen Klein is a smart cookie, one who is probably completely aware that her show for the cattlemen was all smoke and mirrors.

In mirror mode, she evoked St. Reagan to justify her boss' support for the sales tax hike, and blamed Gov Napolitano for allowing "the government to grow as large as possible," as Heidi describes it. Perhaps Ms Klein forgot that both houses of the Legislature were controlled by Republicans for both Janet's terms and most of living memory, and the Governor does not allocate the state budget. That's the Legislature's responsibility.

In smoke mode, Ms Klein talks about how California's finances were a "house of cards, a Ponzi scheme" necessitating new taxes, setting that in direct parallel to Arizona today, but we hear no mention of how the structural weaknesses in Arizona's financial policy that led us to this pass can or should change to be more dependable and stable.

Let's not forget that the Gov has declared for reelection, so this was an early campaign speech to an influential chunk of her base. Ms Brewer may be telling the truth, but clearly she has no ideas for correcting the problem. In other words, if Jan gets everything she wants, it could all come down exactly the same way in another five years.

Shorter Klein: We got it really wrong in the past, so we should keep doing that.

We need a much more serious approach than picking the pockets of poor folk to patch a system that has proved catastrophically deficient. Sensible structural change means moving away from sales taxes as the primary revenue source, away from construction as the primary industry, and toward real property taxes, as we have a more settled population and more established businesses in one of the most attractive environments for living and working in the western hemisphere. We have to move forcefully toward renewable energy and sustainable industry, and away from dependence on retailing and extractive industry. We have to spread the tax base to raise revenues and improve fairness. That's the sort of ideas I'll be looking for from this year's crop of candidates.

No comments: