Doing the Right Things in AZ

Governor_Jan_BrewerOn Friday March 27th, I had the opportunity to attend Phoenix Rotary 100 where the speaker was Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.  

I was impressed.  Not because she is a stunning and charismatic orator – she’s not.  What she is is a leader whose integrity shines through.  She’s inherited a huge mess (Arizona has the highest budget deficit per capita in the US) and she is doing something about it NOW.  She’s surrounded herself with ‘some of the Top Experts in the state”, is carefully looking at all the facts and options, and making hard decisions.  Some that even she says “I never thought I would ever support” – like raising taxes – at least temporarily.

She’s taking action to fix the immediate problems as well as working on solutions that will make for a better Arizona in the future.  It was very clear that she has no intention of letting this state be bankrupted or passing this mess on to the next Governor or the future generation of Arizonans.

There are times when doing the right thing can make you very unpopular in certain circles.  No one is ever happy when you take things away from them.  What the Governor demonstrated when fielding questions from the audience is that she is not making decisions based on popularity ratings.  She is using every resource at her disposal to fix the problem because it is the right thing to do.   That takes a lot of guts – especially for a politician.  Kudos to you Governor!

Governor Brewer laid out her Five Point Plan for getting our state out of the current mess and for building a better Arizona.  To read the whole text, click the link above the bullets.

Five Points for Building a Better Arizona

  1. Reform budget process with focus on longer-term needs and resources
  2. Improve Prop. 105 – The Voter Protection Act
  3. Further spending cuts, reduce general fund by $1 billion
  4. Provide tax reform to attract business and more jobs
  5. Temporary tax increase – $1 billion revenue to bridge the gap in our budget shortfall

We’re going to keep hearing lots of complaints and reading letters to the editor about programs being cut, budgets being squeezed, and how short sighted we are being.  But look at the chart and form your own opinion.  Its pretty simple.  The BLUE line is what we were spending and the PURPLE line shows what money the state projects to come in.  When you look at the widening gap, you start to understand why the Governor is taking a stand not just for today but for the future.  

2009_Arizona'sFiscalCrisis

As a business owner, I understand that you can’t keep writing checks if you don’t have the resources to back them up.  You make the best allocation of resources you can based on the business environment and your own ability to generate revenues.  When cash is tight, you cut back.  When times are good, you may spend more – but you always you put money into reserves for the days when cash get’s tight again.  Because those days always come. 

I certainly don’t envy Governor Brewer’s position as a leader at this time in our state’s history. But I truly respect what she is working to do, and I hope that when it comes my time to lead – in what ever way it comes – that I will do it with the integrity, guts, and good old fashioned common sense that she is showing now.

Stay Tuned…

-Joan Koerber-Walker

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