If a family that’s been tightening its belt comes upon a little extra cash, would it typically use it to pay off the mortgage or take care of the kids?
That question crossed our minds when the FY ‘13 Executive Budget proposed allocating some of Arizona’s current budget surplus funds toward buying back Capitol buildings sold last year to reduce the deficit.
The State of the State address’ “burn the mortgage” metaphor was a reminder of lawmakers’ previous explanation for significant health and human services budget cuts, and not in a good way. Legislative leaders characterized those moves as the kind that any family would make during hard times, tightening its belt and “going without” even if it meant personal hardship.
And in better times what would a family do? Admittedly, this line of thinking wasn’t an appropriate analogy for the role of government, but it sufficed as an actionable rationale last year. We’re pretty confident most families would opt to get Mom the medicine she had foregone or get their kid treatment for a chronic health issue before they paid off the house.