Arizona treasurer says changes needed for state budget to be fixed

[Source: Parker Pioneer, John Gutekunst, 10-8-2009] — Arizona State Treasurer Dean Martin said he hated to be the bearer of bad news when he spoke Wednesday evening at the Parker Community/Senior Center.  He said the state is broke, and he said bad decisions on the part of state officials had more to do with this than the recession.  He added the problems won’t be fixed without some fundamental changes in how the state does business.

Martin described his job as the banker for the state.  He manages the state’s funds and investments.  His office also handles investments for the state’s counties and municipalities.  Prior to being elected Treasurer, Martin served in the Arizona Senate, where he chaired the Finance Committee.  He said he felt frustrated by the lack of long-term planning and the fact there was no “early warning” system for when budget problems were on the horizon.

After he was elected Treasurer in 2006, Martin decided to see if the difference between daily revenue and daily expenditures could be an indicator of the state’s economic health.  By researching records back to 1990, Martin said the difference grew during the good times but dropped in bad times.  During the recession of 2001-02, the numbers actually were negative.  They became positive again as the economy improved.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

No Arizona state funds for rebuilding Parker pool

[Source: John Gutekunst, Parker Pioneer] — The Arizona State Parks Department has informed the Town of Parker they will not be providing funds to rebuild the town’s pool.  In an e-mail sent Feb. 2 to Community Development Director Guy Gorman, the parks department said that, due to the state’s budget problems, they were suspending further expenditures on projects funded with grants from the department.  The e-mail stated the legislature had cut funding for the Heritage Grant program. 

Heritage Grant and State Lake Improvement Fund recipients were told to halt construction if state funds were critical to the completion of the project.  The town had planned to use a State Parks Heritage Grant to rebuild the pool.  The grant was awarded in 2006.  The plan was to have the pool ready and open by this summer.  The current pool has deteriorated to the point where it has been closed since 2003.  “This legislative action comes with great disappointment to the community,” Mayor Karen Bonds said in a prepared statement. “Many hours of effort by so many have already been put into this project.”  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]