I was surprised to find Grover Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge on my desk on the Floor of the Arizona House on Monday. First of all, state employees like the Pages should not be distributing political propaganda to members in the House Chambers on state time.
That aside, Norquist’s pledge is completely unrealistic in a state that gives away as much tax revenue as possible in the form of tax advantages for big corporations, wealthy Arizonans, and private religious schools. Norquist’s tax pledge states that members pledge to “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.” The problem is that Arizona has far too many lawmakers — on both sides of the aisle — who consistently vote to give your taxes away.
When they go overboard with tax breaks and are caught short during a financial disaster — like the Wall Street Crash of 2008-09 — the state is forced to cut vital programs or raise taxes to make up the difference. Arizona has been cutting taxes for decades; this resulted in massive across the board cuts under Governor Jan Brewer and Senate President Russell Pearce.
Let’s not go there again. Let’s learn from past mistakes, shall we?