Check out this convenient bit of revisionism from the Arizona Republic Editorial Board.
Unlike our neighbor, Arizona's biggest challenge isn't sky-high spending but nose-diving revenue. For the first 11 months of the fiscal year, through May, they were 18 percent below 2008.
Hmm, I don't expect editorial to be balanced, but they should at least be honest. Governor Napolitano spent one-time bubble revenue on ongoing programs and now the reality that those programs were never sustainable is sinking in.
The Republic's very own Bob Robb has a pretty balanced assesment here.
After the last recession, state revenues stabilized in 2003. State general fund spending that year was $6.6 billion.
State spending peaked in 2008, at $10.5 billion, or a 60 percent increase in just five years.
To be sure, Robb points out that revenue has fallen faster and farther than anyone expected, but the underlying culprit is spending.
It's not like the budget crisis is a surprise. Many people--ATRA andTom Jenney for example--sounded the warning that the budget was unsustainable. Here's an example from a column I wrote calle "The Road To Bankruptcy" that I ran in February of 2008.
But the easy choices have already been made; the gimmicks will soon be gone; the rainy day fund will soon be spent. It's time for real leadership. Instead, the Governor is saying "Nothing Down! No Payments until 2010."
Of course, she'll be gone in 2010 and we will be the ones paying off the credit cards.