A new report from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee shows continued strong growth for the State of Arizona. General Fund revenues are up 8.4% from this time last year, and July collections are up $35.4 million from the budget forecast.
“The State is really starting to see an economic comeback. The Legislature started the session in January with a $1.2 billion deficit. Republican leadership made the tough decisions to trim spending, without gimmicks and more borrowing. We’re seeing the results of those smart decisions now,” says Senate President Russell Pearce.
As a result of those cuts made by Leadership, the $1.2 billion deficit was eliminated for the fiscal year, and Arizona is in the black with a surplus of about $30 million. With increased revenues and lowered spending, our focus now is getting Arizonans back to work and maintaining a balanced budget. Education and public safety will remain our top priorities.
“We made a promise to the taxpayers of Arizona that we would get Arizona’s fiscal house back in order. We’ve kept that promise, despite the criticism from the left about the leaner budget. The current numbers clearly indicate that we made the right budget decisions. We also passed the largest tax decrease in our State’s history in a Jobs Bill which I sponsored. Because of our fiscal discipline, businesses can start up and expand—growing jobs and putting Arizonans to work,” says President Pearce.
Though the economy is improving, caution is warranted. Arizona continues to carry a tremendous amount of debt incurred during previous years of out-of-control spending and reckless gimmicks. One of these gimmicks was selling the buildings at the State Capital in order to continue unjustified spending. The State no longer owns the buildings in which state legislators work and we have accumulated nearly $1 billion in building debt. “This is unconscionable,” says the Senate President.
“With increased revenues, our first job is to begin paying off debt. We must avoid pulling out the credit card for new programs that will siphon money away from responsibly eliminating our debt.” says President Pearce.