I think everybody knows my commitment to fiscal responsibility” – Gov. Doug Ducey

InigoMontoya

Ideological extremism is not “fiscal responsibility.” Just letting you know.

Doug Ducey, the ice cream man hired by Koch Industries to run their Southwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Arizona was straight up about his ideological extremism when he ran for governor last year. He promised to cut taxes each and every year, no matter what, reducing the income tax to as close to zero as possible — thereby worsening Arizona’s long-standing structural revenue deficit (due to years of GOP tax cuts) and leaving the state in a perpetual state of fiscal crisis.

There has been a lot of irresponsible talk lately about Arizona having a “budget surplus” (the state ended fiscal 2015 with a $266 million surplus).

There is a “surplus” in name only because this deadbeat state has refused to pay the $1.5 billion dollar judgment it owes to the state’s school districts as restitution for years of theft from Arizona’s children. Arizona tax revenues surging while schools starving.

And you can add yet another judgment our lawless Tea-Publican legislators owe. Judge: Arizona must refund millions from rental-car tax that pays for stadiums. The refunds could cost the state about $160 million when all the claims from various companies are taken into account. And that doesn’t include all the other lawsuits our lawless Tea-Publican legislature owes attorneys fees and costs. Arizona owes at least $500K in legal fees – possibly a lot more – in separate lawsuits (same-sex marriage, revenge porn, DACA driver’s licenses, Glendale Casino, etc.)

So let’s cut the crap about a surplus. And don’t forget those phased-in corporate welfare tax cuts that Gov. Jam Brewer got enacted a few years ago which are still ramping up. Gov. Ducey doesn’t want to do anything about this corporate welfare tax revenue drain. He wants more tax cuts to make the revenue deficit worse. Ducey not ruling out new round of tax cuts:

Gov. Doug Ducey said Tuesday that he won’t take another round of tax cuts off the table even as Arizona schools struggle to recover the hundreds of millions of dollars in state aid they lost during the recession.

Ducey is on a swing of six schools around the state promoting his idea of dipping into the principal of the state land trust fund to put more into public education. That would require voter approval as the Arizona Constitution says only the interest from the fund, which includes the proceeds of state lands sold and leased, can be touched.

The maneuver would create more dollars, at least in the short term.

Potentially more significant politically, it would do that without tapping state tax revenues. And that means more money for Ducey to fulfill a promise he made in the 2014 campaign to cut taxes each and every year, no matter what.

“I said what I said,” the governor said when asked about that pledge. “We intend to do that.”

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“I think everybody knows my commitment to fiscal responsibility,” Ducey continued. And one of those he said is getting new dollars for schools, “outside of the budget,” meaning not using money the governor could earmark for other purposes, including tax cuts.

Ducey’s plan has been criticized by Jeff DeWit, who succeeded Ducey as state treasurer. DeWit, who said he also has the backing of two other former state treasurers, said tapping into the trust proceeds will result in less money down the road for the public schools that depend on the regular flow of money from the interest.

The question of how best to restore funds to schools comes as the state ended the last fiscal year on July 1 $266 million in the black, compared with the $132 million in red ink that had been anticipated. [Raise taxes or cancel tax cuts. Future years still predict red ink.]

At least some of the excess is due to actual cuts in funding during Gov. Jan Brewer’s administration and years of the state not having fully funded a voter-mandated formula to boost aid to match inflation.

A trial judge already has ruled schools are due more than $330 million in funding for last year, a ruling now on appeal. Still pending is whether schools also should get more than $1 billion in missed aid.

Ducey has sidestepped questions on the litigation, saying he will do what the courts require.

Well, Ducey could do that right now. He could end the appeals, pay the judgment and raise taxes to cover the judgment debts of the state, as the Arizona Constitution requires.

But Ducey won’t do that. Ducey and our lawless Tea-Publican legislature will play out this hand all the way to the Arizona Supreme Court, and should the court uphold the judgment against the state they will say to the court, “You have made your decision, now let’s see you enforce it.” These Tea-Publican deadbeats have no intention of ever paying.

The Governor and GOP leaders are already plotting more tax cuts to make Arizona’s structural revenue deficit even worse to ensure that they cannot pay the judgment — only because they refuse to raise taxes — to hell with the Arizona Constitution.

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