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Arizona Considers Selling Capitol Buildings

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the everything-must-go dept.

Government 301

Things are so bad in Arizona that legislators are considering selling the House and Senate buildings where they've met and worked for more than 50 years. Dozens of other state properties may also be sold. The plan is to sell the properties and then lease them back over several years before assuming ownership again. "We've mortgaged the legislative halls," said an exasperated state Rep. Steve Yarbrough, a Chandler Republican. "That just tells you how extraordinary the times are. To me, it's something we're going to have to do no matter how much we find it undesirable." I bet they could get a great price on the Grand Canyon.

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tax cut fundamentalists (3, Insightful)

Uberbah (647458) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887111)

Low taxes can have high costs.

Is this not K5 fodder ? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28887157)

What the HELL IS IT doing here ?

Re:Is this not K5 fodder ? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28887813)

People still visit K5?

I thought it was all wanky diary entries and bad fiction now, just like it was when I left years and years ago.

Re:tax cut fundamentalists (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28887369)

What the...?
Parent has a point. This would not have happened if the government was allowed the necessary finances it needed from the people.

Re:tax cut fundamentalists (4, Insightful)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887481)

Don't be silly. Why would patriots think their country is worth paying for?

Dude, the bill doubled in a decade. (4, Informative)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887793)

There's a difference between patriotism and theft.

Look at the budget for the State of Arizona...for 2000, it was 27 billion, for 2009, it is 55 billion...

http://sunshinereview.org/index.php/Arizona_state_budget [sunshinereview.org]

Gov't spending is up 8% annually. Where the hell is the money going? Why do you want to raise taxes to double their current levels when people's paychecks have not gone up. Cut services... the state spending is out of control.

Re:Dude, the bill doubled in a decade. (1)

Ozlanthos (1172125) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888795)

Ummm if that is true, why do I keep hearing Congress talk about $100+ BILLION "supplemental spending" bills? Don't those count in some way as "government spending"? If so I think that the number would be in the TRILLIONS per year.

-Oz

Re:tax cut fundamentalists (3, Insightful)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887877)

Patriots love their country. Those corrupted by power and lucre love government.

Re:tax cut fundamentalists (1, Informative)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888063)

A real patriot would think that we ought to give as little money to the thieves who have stolen our free country away from us and covertly enslaved us.

Figure it out! STATE OF ARIZONA is a corporation. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28888403)

Notice how in the Consolidated Anual Financial Report for this State discusses the verry financing? It has nothing about Arizona, but what is on Arizona; a corporation that can sue and be sued, make claims, mortgage and lease no different than any other corporation, and deceptively named "State of Arizona" and referenced indirectly in the Uniform Commericial Code as "this State" and such.

In law, "state" could refer in the American-english slang as mental-State or it could refer to the original latin as soil-State. You just need to Study the statu(t)es as to what they re-present or rep-resent.

Over in Congress of the United States of America, which has been supressed by a Washignton,DC corporation known as U.S. Congress, there was a title of nobility created called The State which is no different than a chair/position at a table/land. If the people are not holding this position, then a corporation STATE OF ARIZONA occupies The State. That's how the pen folds, friends. Sorry it must be this way, but that's what the deception of the alleged Civil War from the Crown of Brittain. Also, consider studying the difference between The United States (singular) to the united States (plural) in the First Judiciary Act, where the only way to determine the difference is in the Savings to Suitors Clause where it refers to a claimant in contrast of what The United States "is" a party to what The United States "are" a party.

Also, consider Title 28 USCode 3002 15(b) where "United States", not The United States and not the united States of America, is "a federal corporation."

If you want to know how this works together, then discover how different the "Unsword Declarations clause" accorded in US Code is to each of these differences;

TITLE 28 > PART V > CHAPTER 115 > 1746

1746. Unsworn declarations under penalty of perjury

Wherever, under any law of the United States or under any rule, regulation, order, or requirement made pursuant to law, any matter is required or permitted to be supported, evidenced, established, or proved by the sworn declaration, verification, certificate, statement, oath, or affidavit, in writing of the person making the same (other than a deposition, or an oath of office, or an oath required to be taken before a specified official other than a notary public), such matter may, with like force and effect, be supported, evidenced, established, or proved by the unsworn declaration, certificate, verification, or statement, in writing of such person which is subscribed by him, as true under penalty of perjury, and dated, in substantially the following form:
(1) If executed without the United States: I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date). (Signature).
(2) If executed within the United States, its territories, possessions, or commonwealths: I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date). (Signature).

Re:tax cut fundamentalists (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887827)

Parent has a point. This would not have happened if the government was allowed the necessary finances it needed from the people

Why should the government be entitled an 8% raise per year when the people do not get the same? The state doubled its budget in 9 years... why?

Re:tax cut fundamentalists (1)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888249)

Closest answer I have to that is here. [about.com] As of 2004 it's gone up 30% since 2000 and the growth rate hasn't slowed as far as I can see given that I've lived here since 2001. That might help explain why the government has increased its spending so drastically. I don't see a lot of frivolous programs here, only cities that are grappling with rapid sustained growth.

The issue here is that they need to raise taxes to support their own weight but the conservative party in this state is too stupid to realize it and the other half have no spine to push for what is needed so you end up in a stalemate resulting in even more stupid decision making.

No, they don't need to raise taxes.. (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888543)

The issue here is that they need to raise taxes to support their own weight but the conservative party in this state is too stupid to realize it and the other half have no spine to push for what is needed so you end up in a stalemate resulting in even more stupid decision making.

Population growth does not account for doubling the budget. This is inexcusable. There's no need for a state's budget to ever escalate past GDP growth. There's a natural limiter there. The fact of the matter, state governments are utterly corrupt, looting the treasury, and the people, and now they are crying for more taxes. It's theft, is what it is.

You're stupid! (2, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887539)

Tax and spend liberals (both R and D) has even higher costs.

Here's a novel concept .... LIMIT GOVERNMENT SPENDING.

Lets start cutting all the crap out of budgets, removing social programs that don't work, and get back to basics. How about stop stupid feel good programs that do nothing but create stupid rules that cost nothing but money on things that don't work.

Yeah, times are tough. TOUGH SHIT. We can't afford all the pretty shiny programs when life was easier. Time is now to TIGHTEN our belts and get rid of cruft.

Yeah, some people might get hurt in the process, but if we continue going like we currently are, we are hurting future generations. People are already getting hurt, we shouldn't be passing that crap on to our children.

I know, bleeding heart liberals will go ape shit over this, but I don't freakin care. Because they are selfish twits who are only thinking about the here and now, and don't give a shit about the future generations.

Selling buildings and leasing them back is NOT productive in the long run, and is VERY short sighted. It is sacrificing the future instead of dealing with the core problems NOW.

CUT SPENDING, don't increase future spending to pay for today's spending.

What I would like is a automatic revocation of politicians who can't pass a balanced budget on time. You can't do that, you're fired and can never run for any office anywhere ever again. Throw them all out!

Maybe then we'll get someone besides a career politician into office who can do what is needed, even when unpopular.

Re:You're stupid! (4, Insightful)

abigor (540274) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887645)

So I take it you've analysed Arizona's budget and know for a fact that excessive government spending is a problem? I'd be interested in hearing your analysis of precisely what should be cut.

Excessive government spending is exactly right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28888285)

According to this [sunshinereview.org] Arizona's year 2000 budget was 23.7 billion USD out of 158.5 billion USD GDP. The numbers for 2009 are projected to be 55 of 267.5 billion.

Perhaps you can explain why you think it's acceptable for state spending to grow faster than GDP. (8% a year or so. I never get raises like that.)

Re:You're stupid! (2, Insightful)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888317)

Fixed red light cameras should be cut. They consistently are money losers here in AZ which is why they get installed and last about year before being taken down. All that trenching for nothing. Then of course they can't even send the tickets to the right court which was great when I got a ticket since the judge threw it out for going to the wrong court.

Beyond that there really isn't a lot of spending as far as I can tell. I could be wrong though. The issue appears to be a simple need to increase taxes and a reactive populous that isn't willing to cooperate.

Re:You're stupid! (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887689)

Lets start cutting all the crap out of budgets, removing social programs that don't work...

And who gets to decide what is/isn't working and whether the stuff that works is worthwhile?

Re:You're stupid! (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888115)

I take your point that it is complicated, but it is basically an ongoing tragedy that government programs are not evaluated for effectiveness or success (effective programs should be funded, ineffective programs should be de-funded, and the label of success should be reserved for programs that have accomplished their goals and can be shut down).

Re:You're stupid! (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888271)

Well, *you* do. Whether you can make your decision stick depends on convincing enough other voters of your position.

Don't like how your tax dollars are spent? Well, who did you vote for? Did you volunteer or send money? Did you canvass your neighbors?

The dollar value of your outrage's justification is equal to the value of the effort and money you put in to shift policy on this issue.

I'm sorry, I don't mean to take this out on you personally. I just *hate* the meme that we're helpless victims, because it's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Re:You're stupid! (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888157)

How about stop stupid feel good programs that do nothing but create stupid rules that cost nothing but money on things that don't work.

Is there a list of "stupid feel good programs" that everyone agrees are wastes of money? Do you happen to have any examples? While it's pretty obvious the budget needs to get cut, I have no idea what works and what doesn't in my own state, let alone arizona.

Just telling the government "Reduce the budget" is a little like telling a child "be good." Good message, relieves some stress, but they need concrete examples or else it's going to be ineffective. If you tell the government to cut the budget and don't tell them how, they're going to take the path of least resistance, which is very often not the best path.

You could have a state park service that is the poster child for how state parks services should run, as efficient as possible, consistently coming up with ways to cut costs as much as possible while providing excellent service, but they're too busy doing their job to make friends in the capitol. Maybe the state trooper office is rampant with corruption and waste, but the head of that department spends most of his time boozing it up with state legislators. The parks service is going to get cut if we just give politicians the command "Cut budget."

Re:You're stupid! (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888165)

I think one must make distinctions between capital and non-capital spending.

Think education is too expensive? Try ignorance and you'll find out what "expensive" means.

Re:You're stupid! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28888623)

Think education is too expensive? Try ignorance and you'll find out what "expensive" means.

It'd be best just to shuttle a bunch of people to Kansas.

Re:You're stupid! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28888195)

Yeah, some people might get hurt in the process, but...

...as long as it's not you, that's okay, right? Congratulations--you're everyone who wants to reform the government! "Cut out everything I don't care about!" Pfft. Not impressed.

Re:You're stupid! (1)

Omestes (471991) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888227)

Nice rant, but it really has nothing to do with Arizona's problems. They have decided to cut their budget, but the "social programs that don't work" that they identified all happen to be public schools, universities, and health care (which does work at least in this implementation). Which is rather odd, since we currently are at the bottom (or near it) as far as education goes.

The problem isn't "liberal" spending, if you'd take a couple of seconds to research the issue in AZ, you'd realize that we are one of the most conservative states in the Union. Our senators are Kyl and McCain, and our house members are pretty much only hardcore republicans. We are the home of Goldwater, and his legacy continues to taint the state. Saying "liberal" and "Arizona" in the same sentence is enough to make one's head explode.

The problem here is that we planned our budgets based on a huge rate of growth, and then that rate of growth stopped. Our whole economy was pretty much based on real estate, and its related services. People stopped buying houses, which killed the tax rate, which killed government income. This is what happens when you base your spendable money on future growth, and not available cash.

There also, to be sure, was a huge amount of graft involved. This is Arizona, we've breed some of the worst politicians in the history of the US.

Re:You're stupid! (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888657)

Yeah, some people might get hurt in the process, but if we continue going like we currently are, we are hurting future generations. People are already getting hurt, we shouldn't be passing that crap on to our children.

John Maynard Keyes [wikipedia.org] would like to [mint.com] have a word with you. [wikipedia.org]

Re:tax cut fundamentalists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28887697)

And great benefits. There are two sides on the public coin.

Out of control spending costs more. (2, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887765)

The State of Arizona's budget for 2009 is $55 billion dollars. The shortfall is about a couple of billion. If all the state did was to adopt the budget from 2006, which was 42.7 billion dollars, me thinks the state would be in the black and by a pretty penny.

Attention mods (0, Offtopic)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888477)

Someone appears to have mistaken the "-1 troll" moderation for the "-1 disagrees with me about taxes" or "-1 ignorant of the matter at hand."

While I think his post was maybe... dumb... it doesn't seem like trolling to me.

Re:tax cut fundamentalists (1)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888685)

Yeah, it gives them incentive to trim unnecessary crap from the budget. Although there is such a thing as going too extreme, I'd rather my state be selling off it's capitol buildings than paying 10 people to 'supervise' 3 guys fixing a culvert under the road.

Arizona's long term plan. (5, Funny)

Seumas (6865) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887113)

Arizona's actual long-term plan is to sell all of their Capitol buildings and replace them with Lowercase buildings and pocketing the difference in caost.

idleidleidle (-1, Troll)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887115)

This is news and this [slashdot.org] is idle???

Editors? Helloooo?

Re:idleidleidle (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28888081)

"Troll"? Actually the guy has a valid point.

It's amazing (-1, Flamebait)

dburkland (1526971) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887119)

How a few moron politicians and illegals invading the state can bury it in a very short amount of time

Wait, what--? (5, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887161)

Is this like monopoly? I tend to lose not long after I have to start mortgaging my properties to the bank.

Re:Wait, what--? (0, Offtopic)

Swizec (978239) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887261)

Is this like monopoly? I tend to lose not long after I have to start mortgaging my properties to the bank.

The way to win monopoly is to gobble things up early, even mortgaging if you have to. Then later in the game everything is yours and people can't make a move anymore without paying you huge amounts of money. Makes the game very frustrating ... but not for you.

Re:Wait, what--? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28887343)

One other trick is to only buy houses, and buy them all. If there are no houses in the "bank" others cannot build them. Don't upgrade to a hotel unless you can also buy the houses you are returning and place them somewhere.

Re:Wait, what--? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887439)

Officially, anyone that lands on a mortgaged property can buy it from the bank. So all you've managed to accomplish is subsidize someone else's purchase. It's not a big deal though. I've never lacked the money to buy a property.

Re:Wait, what--? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28887555)

The player who mortgages property retains possession of it and no other player may secure it by lifting the mortgage from the Bank. However, the owner may sell this mortgaged property to another player at any agreed price. If you are the new owner, you may lift the mortgage at once if you wish by paying off the mortgage plus 10% interest to the Bank. If the mortgage is not lifted at once, you must pay the Bank 10% interest when you buy the property and if you lift the mortgage later you must pay the Bank an additional 10% interest as well as the amount of the mortgage.

Re:Wait, what--? (1)

mordenkhai (1167617) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887661)

Interesting, I've never heard of such a rule, so I checked Hasbro. The rules on Hasbro don't seem to agree with you. In fact they explicitly state no other player may secure a mortgaged property by paying the mortgage. Where are you getting your rules from?
http://www.hasbro.com/games/kid-games/monopoly/default.cfm?page=StrategyGuide/Rules/rules_mortgages [hasbro.com]

Re:Wait, what--? (1)

BigGar' (411008) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888369)

Sounds like a house rule created to make you think twice about mortgaging properties, though its not mentioned here: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Monopoly/House_Rules [wikibooks.org]

Re:Wait, what--? (1)

WombatDeath (681651) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888343)

Tish and piffle. First thing you do once you've got a half-decent set is mortgage everything you can't use and buy as many houses for your set as you can possibly manage.

Really? (2, Interesting)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887165)

I've consistently said the same thing: Don't cut taxes, cut spending. Just as consistently, my thoughts have been shot down.

Well here's the final result of irresponsible fiscal policies. Congrats, the government now belongs to the bank.

With some prudence during the boom times, maybe we wouldn't be seeing so many issues during the bust? I know it's hard to imagine, but some governments paid down debt during the boom, rather than cutting taxes to unsustainable levels, only to be laughed at. Who's laughing now?

Re:Really? (5, Informative)

Delwin (599872) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887273)

You don't live in Arizona do you? They've already cut everything they can. There's constitutional restrictions on what they can touch (direct voter mandates cannot be cut) and there's a lot of essentials that cutting will cripple the future of the state if they're cut any farther than they already have been (Education being the most commonly talked about one).

They're out of things to cut and any attempt to raise taxes has been shot out of the water by the legislature. The final compromise sends the tax hike to the voters so the legislature doesn't get their political hands dirty with it.

Should they have saved during the boom more than they did? Yes. Did Arizona save a lot during the boom? Actually yes it did but all of that savings only covered last year's deficit. Now savings is depleted and current tax revenues have fallen by double digit percentages but the population hasn't fallen by much (most areas are actually still growing) so basic services that the government is responsible for still need to be covered.

As is a lot of the state parks are now shut down because there's no money to pay for them. So don't knock the government here for doing everything in their power to fix the problem. At least we haven't had to send out IOU's like California yet.

Re:Really? (1)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887393)

Then the truth of the matter is obvious: They need to raise taxes if they've cut everything, or they need to amend their constitution to cut more. It's only a two number equation. This isn't hard stuff.

Re:Really? (2)

Titoxd (1116095) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888293)

But we're in the land where supply-side economics is king. Raising taxes is BLASPHEMY! :(

Re:Really? (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887583)

Imagine how much money would be available if they just stuck to funding the basics and letting people fend for themselves for things that don't absolutely require the effort of the collective population. Oh well, I'll never get elected anything with a "let's not woo every voter with their own special program or giveaway" attitude like that.

Re:Really? (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887657)

You can always cut elected official's salaries. I'm not sure that I've ever seen one that I thought was reasonable.

Don't think so... (2, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887719)

You don't live in Arizona do you? They've already cut everything they can.

I doubt this. Have a look at Wikipedia

http://sunshinereview.org/index.php/Arizona_state_budget [sunshinereview.org]

In 2009 the State Budget is $55 billion dollars. In 2000, the State Budget was less than half of that. Did our wages double from 2000 to 2009? If not, then why the hell did spending? Every state that is in red ink could easily avert its fiscal crisis if all it did was revert to a 2004 budget... We're not even talking 4 years ago...

There's constitutional restrictions on what they can touch (direct voter mandates cannot be cut)

This is an excuse. There is just a lack of political will to really make hard choices.

Change the State Constitution.

Re:Don't think so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28888633)

You don't live in Arizona do you? They've already cut everything they can.

I doubt this. Have a look at Wikipedia

http://sunshinereview.org/index.php/Arizona_state_budget [sunshinereview.org]

In 2009 the State Budget is $55 billion dollars. In 2000, the State Budget was less than half of that. Did our wages double from 2000 to 2009? If not, then why the hell did spending? Every state that is in red ink could easily avert its fiscal crisis if all it did was revert to a 2004 budget... We're not even talking 4 years ago...

There's constitutional restrictions on what they can touch (direct voter mandates cannot be cut)

This is an excuse. There is just a lack of political will to really make hard choices.

Change the State Constitution.

And in that same time frame Buckeye went from 50,000 to 500,000 as did Gilbert and Chandler, East Mesa moved into AJ, perhaps we have other reasons for the budget going up like Surprise going from 3 schools to 35

Re:Really? (1)

Luthair (847766) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887731)

One of the posts in the responses on the linked site (which I don't recommend anyone read, its a cesspool) mentions that there is also a 680 million tax cut in the budget as well.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28887979)

You don't live in Arizona do you? They've already cut everything they can... So don't knock the government here for doing everything in their power to fix the problem. At least we haven't had to send out IOU's like California yet.

Blame Arizona? What, with its rich heritage of fine leaders and businessmen like Evan Mecham [wikipedia.org] , Fife Symington [wikipedia.org] , Charles Keating [wikipedia.org] , and Sheriff Joe Arpaio [wikipedia.org] ? Not to mention a couple losing presidential [wikipedia.org] candidates [wikipedia.org] . Sigh [youtube.com] .

They do of stupid things [reason.com] , and all their good talent [wikipedia.org] seems to get skimmed off the top. Damn term limits.

Re:Really? (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887475)

I've consistently said the same thing: Don't cut taxes, cut spending. Just as consistently, my thoughts have been shot down.

I don't know...

Cutting spending in a deflationary crisis might be an economically bad idea for local jobs and results in the whole deflationary death cycle [wikipedia.org] .

The state should sell municipal bonds [wikipedia.org] if it short on money and citizens take advantage of federally tax free bond income by giving the state loans out of their own pocket.

That way people with extra money to spend can finance the state and get some money back in the process.

When the economy recovers as well as tax revenue, then they can pay back the loans.

Well in theory...

Re:Really? (2, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887573)

I've consistently said the same thing: Don't cut taxes, cut spending. Just as consistently, my thoughts have been shot down.

You can't necessarily increase your profits just by minimizing expenses. If that were true, the only viable business strategy would be selling all your assets for a quick cash-out. Government is not entirely different. Look at Detroit, the taxes collected are far lower than necessary to support the crumbling infrastructure. Has that saved the city?

Certain people keep talking about the national deficit as if decreasing spending is the answer. It might help, it might hurt. It all depends on how much further the economy sinks into ruin when the spender of last resort stops spending.

Re:Really? (1)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887773)

That's your problem: You're imagining that the government can actually save anything or anyone. All they can do is either take money from our pockets and give it to someone else, or inflate the currency. The former doesn't result in a net increase in spending unless you believe people would put the trillions collected from bonds or taxes under their mattress, and the latter doesn't result in an increase in spending unless you ignore that existing investments and savings accounts have their value drained from them in the process.

Canada has a federal government that spends half the % of GDP compared to the US (so proportional to the economy the government is half as big), but they're weathering the recession much better than the US. This runs directly counter to the prediction made by the "The government spending is good for us" theory.

Re:Really? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888229)

Canada probably benefits, to some degree, from U.S. military spending (at a minimum, we are friendly and the U.S. is willing to sell Canada equipment, which at least gives Canada the option of lower development costs), so direct comparisons of GDP and the like may not be particularly useful (There is probably Canadian spending that benefits the U.S., but I bet U.S. spending benefits Canada more).

Re:Really? (2, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888323)

Canada is weathering the downturn much better because they have a better regulation [brookings.edu] of the financial sector, thus the wheelers and dealers there were not allowed to over-leverage to ridiculous proportions in a drunken fit of greed.

There's lots of analysis... (2, Funny)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887173)

...in yesterday's post on Mike Shedlock's blog [blogspot.com] . He makes a telling point: "Bear in mind, you can only sell the Capital Building once. Then what? Is anyone looking ahead?"

Re:There's lots of analysis... (1)

Delwin (599872) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887301)

Mostly they're looking ahead to 2010 and 2011 and hoping we pull out of the recession so they can buy it back.

Re:There's lots of analysis... (1)

Hotawa Hawk-eye (976755) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887409)

Can they? Two words: Eminent Domain [wikipedia.org] . Of course, that might make potential future buyers less likely to buy without some promise that the building will not be put under ED without a real reason ... but they can have the money for selling the building and have the building too.

Re:There's lots of analysis... (2, Informative)

TroyM (956558) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887695)

Under Eminent Domain, the government still has to pay fair market value for what they take.

Re:There's lots of analysis... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28888325)

Wrong. The government pays whatever it says is "fair" and you don't get to argue. Or you can argue, but the state's rebuttal will be at gunpoint and they WILL win.

Re:There's lots of analysis... (2, Informative)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888665)

No, you get to argue. If you have property which is taken by the state via eminent domain, you have a right under the federal constitution (and typically the state constitution) to go to court on the issue of what the fair value is. You'll present evidence as to what you think the value is, the state will present evidence as to what they think the value is, and a jury will decide which evidence they think is most credible and make a determination based on what they hear. If the government is determined to take your property, they can, but their determination as to fair value is hardly made at gunpoint.

Re:There's lots of analysis... (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887699)

They are betting on the recession ending and tax revenues improving in the future. It's a fairly reasonable bet. And even if they lose, they can just buy their capital back from the bank at the foreclosure auction. It's not like there's going to be much competition in terms of bidders for the Arizona State Capital building.

Good luck with that! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28887187)

Sell a building you designed specifically for your purpose to someone, then lease it from them (for less than the mortgage payment of course), then expect to be able to buy it back from them at a later date? Good fucking luck!

The machine that goes 'ping'. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28887207)

"Aah! I see you have the machine that goes 'ping'. This is my favourite. You see, we lease this back from the company we sold it to, and that way, it comes under the monthly current budget and not the capital account."

Capitol Buildings Signage (1)

leed_25 (156309) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887235)

I can see it now: "Microsoft Hall of Justice"

Re:Capitol Buildings Signage (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887705)

I can see it now: "Microsoft Hall of Justice"

You've probably already seen it [imdb.com] .

Is NY also selling the Brooklyn Bridge ? (1)

ehack (115197) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887247)

:)

That's ridiculous! (2, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887257)

A bank needs a bailout from the government.

The government needs money to pay them.

The government mortgages their property to get money from a bank.

The government gives the money to the bank.

Who wins?

Re:That's ridiculous! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28887443)

States aren't too big to fail. The feds didn't do a damn thing to help out California. Only corrupt overpaid people on Wall St. who destroyed the global economy are too big to fail.

Re:That's ridiculous! (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888281)

Only corrupt overpaid people on Wall St. who destroyed the global economy are too big to fail.

      Yes, it's easy to blame Wall Street. Especially when you see people buying houses, investing $50k in them and getting a 100% return one year later. Especially when you see people mortgaging themselves to the hilt to buy properties because "house prices are going to keep going up forever". Especially when you see people who can't afford a mortgage apply for one anyway. Especially when you see people "living off the equity in their homes". Yes, blame Wall Street for creating the products THAT THE PEOPLE DEMANDED.

      4 banks on Wall Street currently control $296 TRILLION [cfo.com] dollars in derivatives. Consider that the world GDP is around 50 trillion per year, if these 4 banks go under they take with them 6 years' worth of the WORLD's GDP. What would happen to your mutual fund, or your 401(k), or the US dollar for that matter, if these banks were forced to dump those derivatives on the market all at once in a bankruptcy? Oh and how much did you say the state of Arizona - or even California, is worth, by the way? Certainly not $296 trillion...

      It's easy to blame Wall Street for everything. However no one was bullied into buying that extra house, or taking on that extra mortgage, or borrowing for doing that ultra expensive reno (after all, we'll get it back when we sell, right?). GREED was happening on all levels of society, and it happened FROM THE BOTTOM UP.

      What I blame government for is having painted themselves into a corner. The time to reduce deficits was during the good times. Now they have no choice but to continue to print money, bail out banks, and raise taxes (directly or subtly) to try to get some control over the spending. A lot of people are bulls suddenly, thinking that the worst is over. To quote Tolkien, no - "this only was wanting, now comes the night."

Re:That's ridiculous! (1)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888579)

4 banks on Wall Street currently control $296 TRILLION [cfo.com] dollars in derivatives. Consider that the world GDP is around 50 trillion per year, if these 4 banks go under they take with them 6 years' worth of the WORLD's GDP.

You should learn what Notional Amount [wikipedia.org] means. Those big numbers look a lot less scary, when you know what they mean.

Re:That's ridiculous! (1)

flitty (981864) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887619)

A bank needs a bailout from the Federal government.

The Arizona government needs money.

The Arizona government mortgages their property to get money from a bank.

The Arizona government gives the money to the bank.

Who wins?.

Well, looks Like Banks win twice, Arizona wins once, and Federal government loses (if the funds are not repaid).
Looks like the Feds should just lend the money to AZ directly, with repayment due when the recession turns around, with minor interest to cover the cost of lending.

Re:That's ridiculous! (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887629)

Who wins? All the idiots who went out and bought houses even though they barely made enough money to pay for the occasional night out at a burger joint while the rest of us tried to be responsible and wait until we had enough saved up for a house. Yay! Free housing for every selfish dick!

The Libertarians (1)

puppetman (131489) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887271)

... and other small-goverment-is-good groups shoudl buy the buildings and then bulldoze them. They can finally control the size of government, if only in Arizona.

Re:The Libertarians (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887733)

They could call it... "Rapture".

Re:The Libertarians (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887801)

They can also control the size of government in California, where a lot of this "starve the beast" nonsense started.

The most assenine plan yet (2, Insightful)

diskofish (1037768) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887331)

This is the worst I've heard of yet. How about they try to fix the problem instead of a temporary fix? That and I don't see how this is actually going to save any money. They'll incur the cost of moving everything to a new location, rents at the new location...etc etc etc.

Re:The most assenine plan yet (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887591)

Did you miss the part where they'd lease back the building? No moving required.

What's the problem? (2, Funny)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887335)

If you already can buy the politicians who work there, what could be the problem of being able to buy the building itself?

Arizona is worse than California (5, Insightful)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887373)

On a per capita basis, Arizona is worse off than California. The cause is due to a confluence of factors, including not saving enough for the bad times, taxes being too low or spending being too high, having such a growth oriented economy, etc.

But there are two items which I am CONVINCED are major factors as well.
1) Term limits: They suck. I used to support them, but I was wrong. Term limits result in a legislature that doesn't know WTF it's doing at any time. There is no institutional memory, and once someone understands the complex process of creating and passing legislation - they get the boot. Additionally, because no one exactly knows their jobs, term limits result in a weak branch of government, so the executive tends to dominate. This is not what our respective state constitutions intended. I wish people would put two and two together on this.

2) Illegal alien "crackdown" and employer sanctions: AZ is suffering a major real estate crisis. The crisis is for reasons obvious to anyone, but a contributing factor for our crappy economy and crappy real estate was the crack down on illegal aliens. Folks don't realize that these people rent and spend here too (often times without the societal expense us "real people" tend to cause society). When you have sweeps, a lack of employment and a general sense of animosity towards those who (in my view) are major contributors to society, they move one state over (they're not moving back to Mexico). I wish people would understand this point too.

Certainly, the overall economic factors play a very large role, but AZ has gotten itself in a big mess all by itself...

Re:Arizona is worse than California (3, Insightful)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887639)

1) Term limits: They suck. I used to support them, but I was wrong. Term limits result in a legislature that doesn't know WTF it's doing at any time. There is no institutional memory, and once someone understands the complex process of creating and passing legislation - they get the boot. Additionally, because no one exactly knows their jobs, term limits result in a weak branch of government, so the executive tends to dominate. This is not what our respective state constitutions intended. I wish people would put two and two together on this.

Not only that, but they pretty much guarantee that whoever is in government now, is planning for their career after government. They really have no choice with term limits.

Re:Arizona is worse than California (1)

Titoxd (1116095) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888259)

I get your point, but do you really want these people [youtube.com] to stick around any longer than the bare minimum?

Re:Arizona is worse than California (2, Insightful)

MillenneumMan (932804) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888711)

You raise some interesting points. I have a friendly disagreement with you on these to some extent...regarding term limits, if it takes more than two terms for a representative to thoroughly understand how to contribute to running a state government then perhaps the state government is already too complex, or there is no incentive to make state programs efficient. I imagine it is even worse in that both of these cases are true. With regards to illegal alien crackdown, let me first commend you for using the phrase "illegal alien" instead of "undocumented worker" or some other euphamism. Arizona has a particularly tough challenge in this regard due to its proximity to a national border. I admire Arizona's efforts to do something, and better options may result from studying the unintended consequences of the crackdown. However, I think going back to the way things were (I think you are suggesting that we essentially not enforce some or most illegal alien legislation) prior to the current crackdown is akin to throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I believe most people hold few grudges against legal immigrants and reserve their wrath for illegal immigration and the perception that many of our elected officials and peacekeepers deliberately ignore enforcement of the law. Our prisons are full of a disproportionate number of illegal aliens, and prison costs are substantial. Our hospital emergency rooms are full of a disproportionate number of illegal aliens, and hospital costs are substantial. Those costs are borne by us honest folk, and it is very easy to resent having those costs dilute state budgets, money that already is poorly managed by our elected officials.

Break the lease - Own the building? (3, Interesting)

JamJam (785046) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887401)

So what if I buy one of these properties then break the tenants lease (pay a financial penalty or something) then I'd outright own the property? Would the building be zoned commercial or could I make one of these buildings into my house? or bed & breakfast? (which would great if I bought a jail)

Just thinking outside the box here...

Re:Break the lease - Own the building? (3, Informative)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887545)

I'm sure the covenants of any contract would keep the owner's options quite slim. Probably a NNN lease where the ownership is almost a formality. There's no way you could do such a thing as you suggest without landing in court for a very long time.

Unlike California, Arizona cannot issue state debt (I believe it may even be in the constitution), so it looks like they're looking for a back-end deal to issue debt without violating state laws. It may not even be such a terrible idea. Interest rates (cap rates, more specifically) on real property for a AAA tenant are very reasonable. If they could incur a small amount of debt constitutionally, and pay a reasonable rate for it, pay it off in the future, it's not entirely bad. I'm not saying it's good, but that's where AZ is at right now.

About the Grand Canyon.. (1)

Winchestershire (1495475) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887575)

Since the Grand Canyon (the proper part near the middle) is a federal park and thus federal land (with the exception of the reservations in the area), I doubt the state would be able to sell any. Although they might be able to fetch a decent price on some of the land outside of the park. If anything, their smaller state parks in the center of the state might be worth looking into. But in all seriousness, it seems as if they are trying to use this as an excuse to move out of the old building. From what I've read about the building, it is costing Arizona hundreds of thousands of dollars just to pay for the repairs and retrofits to the old building.

Glad I left that shithole (1)

Snuhwolf (1105289) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887761)

Too bad it didnt get better after I left Arizona 10 years ago. Now the repug-led legislature is trying to privatize the buildings and funnel yet more money into the pockets of the people who elected them. This is the same idiotic type of idea as making all the interstate into Toll roads.

Re:Glad I left that shithole (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887895)

Well, the good news is it is now a law that people can carry concealed firearms legally into Bars. Oh, but even though they are concealed, they are on the honor system. No drinking alcohol if you are carrying. Also, if there is a sign that says no firearms allowed, you cant bring them in. But this is Arizona... where Sheriff Joe Arpio (sp?) is more concerned about illegals than he is about drunk drivers, driving while texting, speeding, rage drivers, and all the other horribad drivers we have out here. Crossing the street? Not in this State... you will get mauled and no one will stop. What? We have radar cameras? Pppffttt, look into our prosecution of them; there isnt any... 25% or so even pay the tickets which means 25% of Arizonians give a shit... the rest are red neck douches with 10ft high Toyotas. Shithole indeed good sir. There is a ton more... but I dont want to write a book.

Re:Glad I left that shithole (1)

Titoxd (1116095) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888419)

It's Arpaio [wikipedia.org] , by the way. My favorite antic is what he's been doing against New Times staff... I still wonder why he hasn't been arrested yet.

A wonderful occurrence (1)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887823)

At least State governments are restricted in how much damage they can do in being unable to run long-term deficits. Mischievous government should be forced into foreclosure just as the imprudent individual. It will be a great day when the Capitol and White House are on the auction block in a desperate attempt to prevent the Federal Government from entering default.

How does this even work? (3, Insightful)

Volda (1113105) | more than 4 years ago | (#28887833)

Im confused here... If they sell the buildings then lease them from the new owners do they not have to pay rent? Then in a few years when the economy is better wont they have to buy it back for more then they sold it for? Real estate generally increases in value not decreases. It would make the whole deal a loss for the state then wouldnt it? I see no way that this would help out with their yearly budget except for the year they sell it. After that its only going to be a net loss.

It seems to me this sounds like a bs accounting scheme. Kinda similiar how a few states say its cheaper to keep a murderer in prison for life then it is to execute him within a few years. Its looks great in the short term but in the long run it costs much more.

It just sounds really stupid to me. I can understand trying to get some money to make ends meet but this whole deal makes me scratch my head.

Re:How does this even work? (5, Informative)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888509)

OK, answers to your question:

(1) Yes, they do have to pay rent. Where will the rent come from? From the proceeds of selling the building.

(2) Yes, they want to buy it back, they will pay more for it than they got. The rent money they'll have sent will be gone forever.

(3) Yes, the state will end up losing money on this.

(4) No, it is not a BS accounting scheme, it's actually quite straightforward. It might be a bad financial decision. Or it might not.

You see, this is not about saving money. It's about having enough cash on hand to pay the bills. From a financial standpoint, it's a lot like taking a loan. Does it make sense to take a loan to buy a car, even though you end up spending a *lot* more? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. If you don't need the car, it doesn't make sense. If you have the cash on hand to buy the car without risking running out, it doesn't make sense to take the loan unless you've got really *excellent* investments. If you don't have the cash to buy a car, and you *need* a car to get a job, then the loan makes sense.

Does this make sense for a state? Well, the deal is you get cash up front but in the end pay a fee for the use of that cash, just like a loan. The alternative is to either (a) obtain more cash or (b) eliminate current cash outlays. In other words, raise taxes or cut spending.

If you raise taxes, you may delay the economic recovery in your state as businesses choose to relocate to places with lower taxes.

If you cut spending, you may store up problems like bridges that need to be replaced because they hadn't been painted; an increasingly ignorant and unemployable population; greater costs of fire, crime, and public health crises which are borne in an arbitrary way by random population members, which *also* cause businesses and people to relocate.

Now if you can find the cash you need by identifying *wasteful spending* that accomplishes absolutely nothing, then hallelujah! On the other hand, reducing spending on *useful* things isn't always a financial bargain.

Do the buildings go "ping"? (2, Funny)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888043)

Do the buildings go "ping"?

If you're new on /., go to 3:00 of this [youtube.com] . Don't worry, you'll get there some day in a distant future.

The height of stupidity (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888171)

The heights of stupidity people will go just to avoid raising taxes.

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28888187)

So long as my taxes remain low, I don't give a shit what these politicians do to keep them low.

I live in Arizona - sad stuff. What we need to do. (3, Interesting)

MarkWatson (189759) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888275)

The economy is in poor shape now, but will probably get much, much worse in the coming years (see today's poorly performing 5 year treasury bond sales, an indicator that foreign banks and investors don't want to invest in us, even with a higher "tail" interest rates.). What makes our state legislators think that they will have more funds in a few years to buy these properties back?

It is in no one's interest that the US economy crash and burn, and that is why the oil rich countries, and China, Russia, etc. appear to be cooperating on "gently" moving the world to a "basket of currencies" rather than use the dollar as the main international exchange currency - they don't want us to crash and burn and take them with us. A slow and gradual process is the best that we can probably hope for.

How can the USA cooperate? For one thing, how about reducing federal, state, and local expenditures by 25% (OK, I just made up that amount, but it sounds about right).

Painful? You bet. Government workers will have salaries and benefits reduced, as will the general population. Deals with labor unions will be broken. Benefits form the ponzy scheme known as social security will be cut back.

Corruption needs to be nipped. As a starter, how about a tax on financial transactions that do not involve real goods and services: apply a 1% tax to hedge fund investment transactions, etc. Slow down the non-productive use of money.

Bush, Obama, and Congress have already proven themselves to be firmly in the pockets of corporations and their lobbyists - that will not change. Why should people who get to make the rules be fair with the rest of us?

Re:I live in Arizona - sad stuff. What we need to (1)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888767)

As a starter, how about a tax on financial transactions that do not involve real goods and services: apply a 1% tax to hedge fund investment transactions, etc. Slow down the non-productive use of money.

I'm sorry, but where do you think that money goes?

That's how corporations are able to raise capital to expand their businesses. By levying a tax on the transfer of money from one investment to another, all you're doing is incentivizing people to keep their money in less productive concerns. How is that supposed to help the economy?

It's a very good idea. (1)

mano.m (1587187) | more than 4 years ago | (#28888591)

They're selling their own office instead of cutting back on education, health care, road maintenance, the fire department, &c. I think it's better for lawmakers to inconvenience themselves instead of the public. It's even mildly noble.
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