State House Speaker Kirk Adams, a Mesa Republican, has launched a series of YouTube videos that explain Arizona's budget crisis -- from the point of view of Republican legislators like him, of course.
Sonoran Alliance, (where we first read about the videos), calls the series a public-relations offensive. Adams has apparently decided Governor Jan Brewer, who has her own solution to the budget problems, has been getting more than her fair share of attention. But Adams' deadpanned rhetoric is tougher to watch than a late-night infomercial, so you're probably better off reading this short summary of his message.
In any case, the videos can't match the kind of publicity you can get from, say, TV news. The first video in the series, the one entitled "Arizona's Economic Crisis," is the most watched, having been seen 301 times as of Wednesday morning. In it, Adams explains that "it's time to adjust our spending for the income coming into state coffers." Simply put, the state "must not spend more than it has."
In "Arizona's Future," Adams reminisces about hardscrabble pioneers and says Arizonans, in the long run, must "grow our way out" of financial problems.
Another video has Adams describing the differences between Brewer's budget plan and the one passed by a faction of Republican lawmakers earlier this month -- namely, that she wants a tax increase and the lawmakers don't.
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The situation is more complicated than Adams wants his YouTube viewers to know. According to one Republican lawmaker who voted against the budget bill, Bill Konopnicki, the idea that Adams and crew passed a "balanced budget" is a sham, because it uses every accounting "gimmick and game" in the book and the projected money shortfall is disputed:
The proposed House/Senate budget that passed accounts only for a $3 billion revenue shortage, while the governor's budget office has calculated the shortage to be $4 billion. If Arizona loses the stimulus money, the shortage will be $5 billion. It is not fair to play games with the citizens of Arizona and let them think that the Legislature passed a balanced budget when, in fact, it is not a balanced budget.
In his video, "Difference in Budget Proposals," Adams doesn't address the $1 billion discrepancy in projected shortfalls. But he does say it would be "irresponsible" of Brewer to veto the budget bill because it might cause a government shutdown.
We'll know who's right in this battle of the budgets only after we see the real -- and possibly really ugly -- effects on Arizona's residents.