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June 15, 2016


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Jon, the points you make have actually been somewhat validated by a comparison of the experiences of Minnesota and Wisconsin that appeared online last year. Minnesota, which has invested in education and infrastructure in lieu of cutting taxes, has a stronger economy than Wisconsin, which as we know pursued the cut-taxes approach.

Appropriate ideological approaches to governing vary with the distance of the government from its constituency. The closer to the voter a government is, the more progressive it can be, because it is easier for voters at a local level to ensure--by means of the ballot box or through intra-election-cycle activism--that the "progress" is "real" and not some chimera designed to extort more hard-earned dollars from the tax payers.

Hence, local governments (see: City of Phoenix) should be relatively progressive, state governments should be more moderate, and the federal government, which is "farthest" from the voters and handles more like the "Titanic" when it comes to changing course should be the most conservative. This doesn't mean that the feds should eschew "progressive" ideas--only that they should be "conservative", if you will, in the implementation of them.

Conversely, those who govern at the state level should not use their (in my personal opinion understandable) frustration with the fiscal irresponsibility of the federal government to be sticks in the mud when it comes to considering and implementing fresh ideas.

Another challenge of the federal government is identifying "best practices" because, strictly speaking, there are few--if any--"peer nations" with democratic customs and institutions completely analogous to ours. A state has--depending upon the specific nature of the issue being addressed--up to 49 peers to research in search of "best practices."

While adjustment of tax policies is one industrial recruitment tool, it is certainly not the only one, and--as you point out--states that have invested in amenities such as education and infrastructure have been more successful in attracting major industries.

A vicious circle exists, because major corporate headquarters bring with them corporate leaders who become natural stakeholders in the community--helping to support the arts, etc. and making the area even more attractive. Mergers in recent years have left Arizona with branch managers in charge in most industries--compounded by the large numbers of winter visitors who supported the arts, rooted for teams, and voted for school funding "at home."

It's not an educated workforce, not high tech industries, or low taxes that brings businesses to AZ, it's still sunshine. Midwestern retirees are lured here to spend the remainder of their life away from the cold and lifeless horizons. The elderly are nearly 20% of our overall population and growing. The younger ones who migrate here are usually following their parents who can give them a leg up with a place to stay or financial assistance. They have a high school education, perhaps an associate's degree and a baby. Their friends follow them when they hear there's employment. That employment is usually a call or records center, medically related serving the retirement market, perhaps a job in the extensive warehousing and distribution sector, or landing a job on a construction crew building housing in the affordable suburbs and exurbs.

None of those jobs are likely to be high tech. What high tech employment that is left is usually legacy firms like Orbital ATK, a Motorola spinoff. A lack of investment in providing cutting edge engineering education at the university level has kept the region from exploiting the high tech hiring boom of the recent decades. Devoting financial resources to convincing the local populace that cutting taxes is better policy than upgrading the universities sends the message the political leadership wants to project. It doesn't really want to attract business and doesn't really expect any business to take up their offer to cut taxes, underfunding the kinds of things business wants like good job training programs and a commitment to fostering business innovation by promoting investments in higher ed.

What the state of Arizona is serious at promoting is a state that has successfully been weaned onto the libertarian ethos and the elected reps who toe the line about driving out urban forces that try and make headway against regressive policies. Elderly voters and the religious flotsam deposited here by economic misfortune has given right ringers the necessary base they needed create a state within a state: A state where nothing is given and nothing is expected, a place where the righteous will earn their just rewards in the believing.

And this is from Tom Rex at ASU, who has been debunking the Kooks for years:


Dravo, Very well said, particularly the last paragraph.

Right wing ideology, like any religion, is more than happy to substitute faith for facts. Indeed, like any religion, it relies on that.

That, and the continued gullibility of its followers.

So, they continue to have faith that trickle down economics works. Or it will, if we just give it a little more time. Despite 36 years of "facts" to the contrary.

Of course, for some of them, it has worked exactly the way they hoped it would.

I wonder what Robb the mouth piece for the religious economic politicians in Arizona think about Thomas Piketty’s, PGT, Progressive Global Tax, or Europe’s suggestion of a, FTT, Financial Transaction Tax or better yet a, RHT, Robin Hood Tax. For many in Arizona the only tax they feel obligated to pay is the 10 percent required by the elders.

Correlation doesn't necessarily equal causation. Unless the implication is higher levels of taxation lead to higher levels of productivity.

What Arizona needs to do is to restructure its university system:


This is silly...

Anyone thinking that state income taxes can help or hurt a state economy significantly is nuts.

There's just way too many variables and noise in the data and, in total, the state income taxes just aren't that a big deal.

The FRED graphs are meaningless with incorporating a cost of living component.

BTW, this is from the Tom Rex article posted above:

The results of the Grand Canyon Institute study are in line with the conceptual analysis presented in the report. Supply-side economics (cutting taxes) is valid, but it works only under specific conditions, such as indicated by the Laffer Curve. These conditions were not present in Arizona during the 1990s and 2000s when most of the tax reductions occurred. Among the reasons why tax cuts have not had a positive effect is that the tax burden in Arizona was not above average in the early 1990s and that the tax cuts through the 2000s focused on personal taxes — tax reductions to businesses are much more effective at stimulating economic growth.

Think business (and property) taxes don't effect business decisions?

Then why do states, counties, and cities give companies big tax breaks to move to their jurisdictions?

Going Naked will reduce taxes?
Lady Godiva
Lady Godiva was an Anglo-Saxon woman who lived in England during the 11th century. According to legend, Lady Godiva's husband Leofric, Earl of Mercia, promised to reduce the high taxes he levied on the residents of Coventry when she agreed to ride naked through the streets of the town.


Because they're stupid. Even auto dealerships are promised tax breaks to build on one side of a road vs the other because it demarcates cities. Do you think the dealership wouldn't build a dealership if it couldn't get a tax break? Both cities need to withhold the breaks.

Also cities with nothing else to sell like urban amenities or job training need to have something in the swag the development office hands out. If you've got nothing else and the employer has nothing in terms of skilled employees, machinery etc it might make a difference. But who needs them, the civic infrastructure like sewers, schools to support the employees makes those jobs net losers.

E-Gads! Cal says I should be a Republican. Lady Godiva is my 25th Great Grandmother. I should be supporting all these tax cuts.
I go wrong?

"Supply-side economics (cutting taxes) is valid, but it works only under specific conditions, such as indicated by the Laffer Curve."

Made me laugh! Who can possibly believe that hooey?

" hone in on "


Not you too, Jon. You're too fine a writer to emit this solecism.

home in on

as in homing pigeon
as in hitting your target through a succesion of increasingly-accurate changes of direction as one nears the goal

I used "hone" as in to sharpen or make more precise, which is allowed (although Fowler is silent). But thanks for keeping me honest.

Rogue again writes the truth about state income tax cuts.

Improving Arizona fiscal policy of taxes and spending should be sought; sadly, it will do little to rehabilitate the horrendous reputation of intolerance that Arizona elected officials have brought to the state.

Arizona is ground zero for Trump country. Are the cracker trumpets going to bring companies to Arizona? The Republican "establishment" which reflects the right-wing view of corporate America isn't attracted to a Trump land. Corporate Democrats are rightly turned off.

Deep red Intolerant Arizona will only reinforce its toxic nature with Brewer, Uncle Joe the sheriff and a solid Trump victory in Arizona in November.

Arizona: Land of Stupid, Land of the Anti-Intellectual, Land of the Intolerant. Home of the lower income retiree.

"hone" as in to sharpen

But "hone" is transitive, while "home" is not. The phrase makes no sense with a transitive verb and no object.

"hone their criticisms of the Kansas experiment" makes sense.

Cal has stated this many, many, many times and Ed just put the period at the end of this true statement: The powers in the state DON'T WANT ANY NEW BUSINESSES TO COME TO THE STATE. You can see it at the city level, county level and state level. NON-BELIEVER BUSINESSES ARE NOT WANTED HERE. Their arrival would dilute the power base. They would bring their non-believing ways of life.

ANON said, "Arizona: Land of Stupid, Land of the Anti-Intellectual, Land of the Intolerant. Home of the lower income retiree."
As usual I enjoy your posts ANON and dont disagree with you on the above. However just for your info, I am two of those things, not very smart and I retired in 1991 on $27000 a year. I got here in 1950 and fell in love with the desert, the horned toads and coyotes and discovered Edward Abbey, Charles Bowden and Jon Talton among other good things. And unless I leave for Uruguay after the election I plan on dying leaning up against a mighty Sajuaro.

Wow I am glad we got brilliant folks like Joel. I know what a verb is but had to look up transitive verb. I am still not sure what all that is about. But I thought I understood Jon's piece sufficiently to get the drift. Maybe I can hire Joel for some dumbbell grammar lessons since I flunked that class back in 58. But I did get A's in Psychology, Philosophy, English Literature and History. And then I quit that scene and just went to redin and ritin. And became what my fellow cops called the social worker with a badge.

PS, when I need help, I just call Mike.
And get A Secret Order.
Hasta luego,
Cal, from the Great Sonoran Desert,
What's left of it.

Mombo, there is one business"they" bring to the state. Theocracy.
and just for fun:

GOP bashing with style:

The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk. (Garrison Keillor)




Thanks, Cal & Mombo. That is something to chew on for awhile.

No unions AND no new businesses means no reinvestment in our state; no one to challenge the current Arizona slave-wage culture; and the oligarchs can continue until every dime has been sucked out of our people and we have all been reduced to dust and bones.

SJ, the Desert always wins.
The Future is "The Good News" by Edward Abbey.

Well, I thought Mr. Bohannon had a very good post.

As INPHX alluded to, the troubles in Kansas may have more to do with Kansas being what Kansas is and other macro factors, versus solely the tax cuts. Therefore, it stands to reason that maybe cutting taxes and expecting that to magically bring immediate growth to Kansas was foolhardy and caused a lot of revenue problems, although it surely also saved a lot of people and businesses a lot of money.

Long-term though, I still believe lower taxes and a pro-growth environment are attractive. But that's only one piece in a puzzle and certainly like ALL states, Arizona should do its BEST to improve, ALL THE TIME.


I think you know where I stand on the subject. If you read the newest (and final) treatise I sent you, it's all there in the first 20 pages.

Basically, the right-wing oligarchs would rather keep the state's economy at a controllable level. If that means there is anemic or no growth, they are perfectly happy--just as long as they retain their power to effect an outcome that keeps their influence intact.

Calling this state "business-friendly" without mentioning the caveat of "conservative, religiously-hypocritical" makes it a deliberate misrepresentation.

But then, all they care about is keeping their "little world" intact--and damn-to-hell those seeking ethical fairness and true justice for all.

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