The recently elected State legislators from our part of Arizona seem to think that Arizona’s ongoing economic recovery is due to their leadership and ideology. This is no more the case than it would be to blame the State legislature for the Great Recession that devastated so many lives. They appear to believe that cutting Arizona’s educational system by billions in order to balance the budget has resulted in no real harm. A visit or two to some of our public schools might change their minds.
In general, our legislators don’t have much to say about the devastating impact of the Great Wall Street Recession on Arizona, perhaps because the recession was a direct result of deregulation. After all, it’s hard to argue that government regulation is “job-killing” when it was, in fact, the roll-back of financial regulations that led to the loss of hundreds of millions of jobs across the country.
Our state Sen. Al Melvin (R-District 11) recently copied Texas Governor Rick Perry by inviting a wealthy golfer to move to a state where he will be “taken care of.” This appears to be a version of the worn-out mantra of trickle-down economics, repeated yet again in spite of economic study after economic study that fails to show any link between tax breaks for the wealthy and the creation of good, well-paying jobs.
We can do better than being a tax haven for the wealthy, Arizona. Our legislature can lead the way. We can make sure that taxpayer dollars stay focused on public infrastructure, such as education and transportation. We must stop spending millions of taxpayer dollars on private schools, on ideological challenges to the federal government, and on tax incentives with no accountability. We can invest in the future of Arizona, in clean energy and state-of-the-art public schools. We can do the things that need to be done to put people back to work at a fair wage. This is the job of government, to set the stage for middle class growth.
Many of us, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and others, believe in America and Arizona and are tired of the constant anti-government rhetoric we hear from our legislators. Most of us are fed up with politicians who cater to the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us. We want to be able to be proud of our government again. It can happen, it’s up to us.