Here at the Arizona Progress & Gazette, we largely consider ourselves to be principled conservatives; not always in the traditional political sense but in the pragmatic way. Unnecessary bureaucracy is to be avoided like the plague, and all government spending should be with a purpose and providing value.
After all, plenty of other municipalities fail at these two principles, and the end result is far too often high taxes and poor services.
So when we heard that the city’s treasurer Sonia Andrews stating that the city needed to spend more money…needless to say our interest was piqued and automatic concerns raised. So what does this stem from? And is there merit to it?
Scottsdale is now edging up against the state’s mandatory expenditure limit, and the request from the treasurer was for a permanent base adjustment to raise that ceiling, which was unanimously put on the agenda for a meeting next January. .
It’s worth noting that this all goes back to the state constitution and the citizenry’s complete aversion to spending money in what seems like eons again, back in 1980. It allows for only very tight municipal spending increases, and while it can account for population and inflation it doesn’t allow for anything more. Essentially, it is an antiquated system that is designed for little else other than strict, unwavering economic conservatism; great in theory, but the antithesis of flexibility.
Besides that, Scottsdale’s expenditure limit is one of the lowest limits of any city in the Valley, according to Andrews.
Obviously, we are no supporters of wanton, reckless spending. But anyone who knows a thing about business knows that in order to grow, you need to spend. So while strict caps may make sense from a strict economic conservative perspective, it makes much less sense for any entity that wants to evolve..
So while it may not be strictly economically conservative, sometimes rules need to be amended. While we will need to monitor this spend and make sure that it has a good ROI, we also shouldn’t be beholden to rules that are dogmatic and not pragmatic. It’s a step other cities have routinely taken and one that Scottsdale needs to take as well.