Legislators should consider new revenue options for addressing state budget shortfall
The Arizona legislature has cut taxes every year but one since 1990 and all of those tax cuts
combined have reduced state revenues by more than $5 billion when adjusted for inflation. Many
of those tax cuts over the years have not gone to everyday Arizonans but instead, have benefitted
corporations and the wealthiest Arizonans. Proponents of those tax cuts often proclaimed that
the tax breaks were needed to bring more jobs and economic growth to our state. But if the COVID-19
crisis has taught us anything, it is that economic growth is driven by everyday people – not by
corporations and the wealthy. The more people are spending money in stores and restaurants, going
on vacations, and supporting small businesses, more jobs, and economic growth they are creating.
Instead of more tax cuts, lawmakers should pursue strategies that will provide Arizonans with
opportunities to increase their earning capacity through educational attainment, by improving
their job skills, or by removing barriers that make it difficult for people to participate in the
workforce, including barriers like the lack of affordable childcare or stable affordable housing.
Arizona once did a much better job of addressing these issues by investing more, but three decades
of annual tax cuts have steadily reduced state revenues – disinvestment from the very things
that could create a more skilled workforce and a stronger economy.