Arizonans In Action Board Member Roy Miller penned this Letter to the Editor that appeared in the Arizona Republic on Wednesday, April 15, 2009.
Last Thursday (April 9th) I participated in a meeting entitled “Convening the Community,” sponsored by the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC). It probably should have been called the “Jan Brewer Tax Increase Cheerleading Meeting.” Senate President Bob Burns and House Speaker Kirk Adams offered a more conservative approach but it seemed clear to me that the real purpose of the meeting was to help the undereducated attendees (like me) “understand” the need to raise taxes.
Raising taxes in a recession should be considered economic suicide but there were many financial statistics presented to lead one to believe that a tax increase is needed. However, one huge area for potential savings, transportation, was not discussed, even though transportation expenses constitute over a BILLION dollars for our state. Technically, transportation money does not come from the general fund but it seems to me that failing to consider this huge area of public expenditures is to fail to recognize a huge opportunity for savings through privatization efforts like toll roads.
The master of ceremonies for the event, Michael Bidwell told the audience that the overall discussion was “not about being conservative or liberal.” That is an amazing remark because the exact opposite is the truth. Whether we address our fiscal problem through tax increases or spending cuts is the very definition of what it means to be a liberal or a conservative.