Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Arizona Government Buildings: For Sale by Owner

by Pa Rock
Amused Taxpayer

Let’s say that Claude and Maude, a well established married couple, have run into some serious financial difficulty. Their bills have been rising for the past few years, and they have cut their budget to the bone. This year the bills are still going up, and they can’t make any more cuts in spending.

What are Claude and Maude to do?

One option, of course, is to increase their income by one or the other taking a second job, but neither wants to make that sacrifice. It looks hopeless, but Claude, who is a product of the Arizona school system, suddenly has a brain fart. Their house, he points out to Maude, is paid for. Why not sell it and then rent it back from the new owners. Claude reasons that in a few years when times are better, they can buy it back – and meanwhile they will have enough ready cash to maintain their lifestyle – at least temporarily.

Okay, it doesn’t take a PhD in economics to see the gaps in logic of Claude’s proposal, yet that is exactly the course that the Arizona legislature seems hell-bent on pursuing.

The state is currently facing a budget shortfall of between three and four billion dollars, and instead of seriously looking for ways to increase revenue, such as through tax increases on corporations or the wealthy, they are pursuing a limited sales tax (one which will put the state’s financial burden primarily on the backs of the poor), and cutting business taxes. It has reached a point where even the dumbest members of the legislature, a quorum to be sure, realize that all of that nonsense (and all of their huffing and puffing) still won’t bring the budget into the black.

So here’s the new plan that is being bandied about the halls of the state legislature. (You might want to sit down and put your feet up before continuing, because this is a doozie!)

Members of the Arizona State Legislature are recommending that the state sell off its House and Senate buildings (and perhaps several other state buildings as well), and then lease them back from the new owners. The estimated cash influx from this scheme would be about $735 million, far short of the state’s projected deficit. When times get better, of course, they would buy their legislative chambers back.

And you know what, as a proud taxpayer of Arizona, I say “Go for it!” I just hope the new owners shop around for perspective renters. Those buildings would be far better utilized as flea markets or storage sheds. Sheriff Arpaio would probably be happy to rent a couple of his tents to the legislators for their meetings. Hell, he might even provide the catering.

Sorry, Senator. You cannot have Grey Poupon on your stale, green baloney sandwich! Only the guards, ...ur...uh...legislative pages, get condiments!

1 comment:

Mike Box said...

Most folk want basic governmental services, many do not want to pay taxes. Demagogs court those voters promising their newly beloved both services and lower if not no taxes. It is a promise that cannot be kept.

Those who want no taxes want no government which means they want anarchy. That is treason!