Maricopa County Insanity

One of the things about economic crises is that you get to see how arrogant and ignorant politicians are. Usually they display both simultaneously. Case in point is the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. For those of you who don’t know who this is, it is the governing body for Maricopa County, Arizona. Phoenix is the major city located in the county.

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors decided to sacrifice $86 million in capital improvements in order to build a $340 million criminal court building. To put this into perspective, the county currently faces a $58 million revenue shortfall, the city of Phoenix is looking at a $250 million deficit and recently petitioned the federal government for a piece of a $50 billion advance from the TARP and the state is looking at a gap in revenues versus expenditures of somewhere between $1.3 billion and $1.5 billion.

Now I can’t find the article that appeared in the Arizona Republic yesterday about this on their website which ticks me off because I now have to type a lot. But here is the logic these folks employed:

We consider it a business decision…It’s one that’s made apart from the ups and downs of the current economy. We’ve been saving money for at least eight years, and it’s the right way to do economic stimulus, with 500 jobs the next three years during construction. We’re doing it with cash, we’re injecting that savings account back into the economy, that will circulate several times, all to local employees and contractors and so on.

We’re going to save money because of the recession. As long as the economy struggles, it’s the best time for government projects to step up.

I suppose that there are some shareholders somewhere that are happy that these guys aren’t making business decisions for them. Frankly, it makes one want to cry. If indeed they do have $340 million squirreled away in a savings account at the local credit union then perhaps it might be the time to devote some of that to addressing their budget shortfall. But noooooo, we will spend the money we diligently saved on a monument and unfortunately cut services which will ultimately require a tax increase to make up for our deficit. Like, I said, arrogance and stupidity resplendent.

I was going to highlight all of the inconsistencies in the statements but I’m a bit too frustrated at this point in time. Feel free to leave any comment you like pointing out just how divorced from rational thought these folks happen to be.

Tom Lindmark

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