Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mayor slams legislative dysfunction - immediately validated

Mesa Mayor Scott Smith is in Washington DC at a national League of Cities conference. During a panel, he criticized the Arizona Legislature, stating that "We're having a contest with California to see which state government is the most dysfunctional." The off-hand joke proved, almost immediately, to be true.

Just hours after his statement, his position was validated as the latest legislative budget agreement stalled in the Arizona Senate falling one vote short of passage. You'll recall, that the budget talks stalled earlier this year after the budget was held hostage in the Senate by a few votes.

Senator Vershoor, who represents a part of Mesa and Gilbert, decided not to show up, not because of the nearly $300 million in proposed cuts, but because of "other policy shifts the Legislature was making in its special session."

In the end, Mayor Smith is right. Our legislative system is now so disfunctional, that even when everyone agrees that cuts need to be made, one or two legislators can hold the entire system hostage for their own interests. Months ago, we asked the legislature to follow Mesa's lead and offer a blend of cuts and the opportunity to raise revenue to fix the problem.

Obviously, that didn't happen, and now cuts are the only thing on the menu. However, these cuts are now being held hostage because of other issues. How does the problem get fixed? These cuts are difficult, but it is clear that they are necessary. Now, the question remains, can the legislature put aside their partisan nature and their idealogy to do what is right, or do they allow the state to continue to flounder.

Mesa has blazed a path directed towards recovery. It would be wise for the state to do the same.


Heath Reed said...

I have felt that many of our state reps are fools and leading this state in the wrong direction. (ie, Peirce and Gray to name two)But they are only harming this state and I hope when re-election comes, they get kicked out of office.

I do like what Smith said and the tough decisions he has made. However, I still feel that AZ and Mesa are going to face more cuts, budgets shortfalls longer than some expect. Reasons why is because we have allowed growth to fund everything along with sales tax. It is going to take a while for the home building industry to get off the ground, even with some positive articles that have been written as of late in the newspapers.

Heath Reed said...

(sorry, forgot to add this)

I wonder with all of the press Smith has gotten that after his terms are up as Mayor, he will run for Governor? He has got a lot of local, state and national press for a mayor from Mesa of all places.

Anonymous said...

We have to remember that this budget mess isn't do just to those in the legislature as Heath seems to think.

We are at fault too, with our voter madated initiatives that we have voted for, that dramatically reduce the amount of budget that the legislature has to work with.

Or how about the cost of welfare programs are continuing to increase and why because the programs manadate to grow automatically.

Heath just maybe those at the legislature should just follow the constitution and stop making behind the door deals. It is not there money but my money that are spending.

Heath, yes Mesa has done a great job with its funds.

Heath if you feel that the legisature has done such a bad job, why don't you come back from out of state and run for office, then maybe things would be better.

Heath Reed said...

Why don’t you run for state office instead of sitting behind this blog? You obviously have been writing a long time about the issues of Mesa and this state. I have better things to do than play politics. Plus, that is not what I want to do with my life.

I to agree that we have voter mandated initiatives, relied on growth to pay for our wants and needs, but I still feel strong that our reps have not done a great job. That is my opinion and this latest budget crisis in the state shows that. Imp not sure about saying my name four times in your response, but the point of the blog that I read into was that the mayor slammed the legislature, and I was committing on that topic of our reps.

Anonymous said...

Heath, your your response is very typical of what I here.

No one likes the job that their representatives are doing and will criticize them up and down.

When they are asked to step up to the plate they whimper and say things such as: I don't have the time, or that is not for me, or I'm to busy and provide excuse after excuse.

Heath, I'm sure our founding fathers thought the same way you do.