Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: email@example.com
Here's a striking quote from Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in the Arizona Republic:
"We could cut every government service in the state of Arizona, except that which is mandated by the federal government, and we still wouldn't balance the budget."
Brewer's point is the one that she has been making for months. Arizona can't balance its budget unless it raises more revenue. It's hard to raise revenue without raising taxes. That's why Brewer, a conservative Republican, has been advocating for a sales tax increase for months.
But, Brewer has gotten pretty much nowhere. Many Republicans in Arizona -- as elsewhere -- have pledged never to vote for a tax increase. Even if they hadn't made that pledge, many would view such a vote as politically perilous when the nation is just starting to meekly recover from a prolonged, deep recession. I doubt Democrats are especially eager to raise taxes either.
The question, though, is what's the alternative. Unless Brewer is exaggerating the severity of the problem, the money must come from somewhere.
The difference between Arizona and other states is just a matter of degree. Arizona's shortfall is worse than most, but, with various pots of stimulus money starting to run out next fiscal year, virtually every state is in budget trouble. As a result, taxes will be an issue that legislators -- even conservative Republican legislators -- struggle to avoid.
GOVERNING Politics is the place for news and analysis on campaigns and elections. If there's a ballot measure in California, a legislative election in Alabama, a mayoral election in Anchorage or a governor's race in Rhode Island, GOVERNING Politics probably is writing about it. We love everything about state and local politics, from polls and campaign ads to policy debates and demographic trends.