In part 2 of a continuing series, Senator Russell Pearce explains his stance on Fiscal Policy issues in Arizona. Part 1 explored why he decided to defend his seat in the Arizona State Senate. Here are further reasons why he should be allowed to keep the seat that out of district opponents are trying to take from him by the use of unethical, yet legal, means.
Section III: Policy Issues
1 The state of Arizona has had a significant budget deficit that only recently came back into balance primarily through the temporary 3-year sales tax and budget cuts. What are the top three actions the State should take to ensure that Arizona maintains its fiscal balance?
Just as many Arizona families have done, we have made the tough decisions necessary to balance our budget. As we enjoy a slight revenue upturn, we mustv proceed with caution to keep a balanced budget in these turbulent times. For the budget, our motto should be to “hope for the best, while preparing for the worst.”
The top three actions Arizona should take to ensure a balanced budget are:
a. Increasing Job Growth. The biggest positive influence on the budget will be increasing job and economic growth. A healthy Arizona economy will produce a healthy budget by increasing tax revenues collected and by decreasing the demands for government services. Without question, the best welfare benefit is a job and the best tonic for the budget is job growth.
b. Continue streamlining state government. Under my leadership as Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman and now Senate President, the State of Arizona now has a balanced budget and a positive cash balance for the first time in years.
State general fund expenditures are down almost 20 percent and the number of state employees is down almost 15 percent from their peak under Janet Napolitano. We are continuing to search for cost-saving ideas. For example, just recently the Department of Juvenile Corrections consolidated two facilities that will save money while increasing rehabilitative services to troubled youth. And under no circumstances, should we bend to the free-spending special interests.
c. Instituting structural budget reforms. Now that the immediate budget crisis has been dealt with, we must institute structural budget reforms to prevent the fiscal nightmare from reoccurring. We need spending limits, a serious debt reduction program and a taxpayer’s bill of rights.
2 What would you do to encourage new job growth and assist in the retention of existing jobs?
Increasing quality job creation is our number one job. My belief is that government needs to get out-of-the-way to let employers do what they do best -- create jobs. Government should provide a business-friendly tax and regulatory environment that fosters job creation. With this philosophy in mind, as Senate President, I led the enactment of this year’s Arizona Jobs Bill. This nationally-recognized act will increase Arizona’s economic competitiveness versus other states. Through this legislation, we are creating the environment in Arizona to retain and grow our existing businesses and attract businesses from other states. Unlike Washington D.C., we are listening to employers and reacting to what they need. My goal is to make Arizona one of the most job-friendly states in the nation for employers.
Taxes and Job Creation
3 As a legislator, would you support tax increases under any circumstances?
I believe tax increases will deter job growth and thus be counterproductive to keeping the budget balanced.
Do you support extension of the 3-year temporary sales tax, used primarily for education, set to expire in 2013?
No. The voters were promised that the tax would be temporary. We need to keep our word with the voters.
How should Arizona reform its tax system, if at all?
We need to reform our state tax system to encourage more job creation. As part of the Jobs Bill passed under my leadership
earlier this year, we enacted the phased-in reduction of the state corporate income tax and business property tax. We need to
support our small businesses by gradually reducing the impact of the onerous business personal property tax.
4 What can Arizona state government do to increase job creation?
First of all, we have to recognize that government does not create lasting jobs -- only the private sector can do that. And second, the best thing state government can do is to get out of the way of our job creators -- our private sector businesses.
a. Reform our state tax system to encourage job creation. See my answer above.
b. Target tax credit to employers. As part of our Jobs Bill, we have targeted corporate income tax credits to employers to help attract and retain high quality jobs for Arizonans. Safeguards are built-in to ensure the jobs are delivered before you get the tax credit.
c. Reduce the regulatory burden on employers. Since 2009 either through executive order or statute, Arizona has had a regulatory moratorium in place to stop any unnecessary increased regulation on businesses and consumers. In addition, we haveb looked proactively for ways to reduce any unnecessary regulatory burdens.
Join me tomorrow for Senator Pearce's responses to questions concerning education and the clean elections.