What a mess, indeed.

The budget debate ended with a wimper.  Education was spared – but is there really money to pay for it?  No sales tax was ever placed on the ballot and a property tax cut was reinstated.  The lamenting is already loud and clear about the property tax, but how did anyone expect anything different?  No deal was done.  How could anyone push for tax cuts with a straight face when there isn’t enough money as it is?

So who is the winner here?  No one.  To quote the Republic, “What a mess.”

What a mess, indeed.

It’s true.  Arizona has a leadership deficit.  The problem is that it is coming from all sides.  With new leadership all around, this budget turned out to be the perfect storm of inexperience, ego, and self-preservation.  With eyes to the 2010 elections, no one wanted to be the bad guy.  The Governor couldn’t afford to cut education and the conservative Republican leadership couldn’t afford not to.  And the Democrats, completely willing to sit on the sidelines, didn’t try all that hard because they were secretly rooting for the Republicans to fail.  Leadership by lettting other people fail, is not truly leadership.  Even Reality TV stars seem to know that.

So where are we?  Who really knows.  Some say that the budget isn’t truly balanced.  Others say that it will be “good enough” for now, but fixes will be needed.  No one is saying that this thing is over.  Even after 9 months, that seems to be the only thing that anyone can agree on.

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