The document is divided into immediate actions that should be taken to weather the current fiscal downturn and longer-term structural reforms that can get the state back on better fiscal footing and help prevent another downturn of the current magnitude. Some of the immediate actions recommended are meant to be temporary measures put in place to deal with the current fiscal crisis only, while other immediate actions should remain in place as they will provide a pathway back to prosperity.
The document, which is the result of a months-long analysis by Arizona business leaders who participated as members of the Chamber’s Fiscal Task Force, looks at expenditure reductions, the creation of a competitive tax environment and government structural reforms.
Areas explored by the paper include:
· Health Care: Explore options to generate revenue that could be used to draw down federal funds in order to offset some pressure from the General Fund.
· K-12 Education: Allow for more flexibility to enable school boards, superintendents and principals to manage available resources.
· Post-secondary Education: Encourage expansion of cost-saving programs that enable students to spend the first two years of their college experience at a community college and then matriculate to a state university for their upper level courses. Increase flexibility for universities to manage their budgets.
· A Modern Tax Structure: Begin enforcing the collection of tax for sales made over the Internet by companies that do not have a physical presence or nexus in Arizona. Modify the homeowner’s rebate subsidy program so that it is only applied to primary residences.
· Structural Reforms: Support the continued work of the Commission on Privatization and Efficiency (COPE) to review and analyze opportunities to privatize certain government functions. Modernize the pension system and personnel policies for state employees so that they are better aligned with the private sector.