FWIW: My Thoughts on State Government Shutdown

Why I think shutting down state government is a bad idea, using Arizona as an example...

Today, 19 states are struggling with their state's budgets and how they are going to meet services with declining or no tax revenues. Arizona is one of them and less than 24 hours from a meltdown.

No matter your political point of view, recognize that a state government shutdown is much more than just stopping services and putting everything on hold until everyone makes up their mind. It triggers responses that have irretrievable consequences and is irresponsible. A shutdown, slowdown, meltdown, whatever...freezes all the State's money and the State Treasurer can not issue any warrants or checks (vendor payments, payroll, utilities, janitorial companies, loan payments, tax refunds) or disburse Federal money such as Unemployment, Medicare, Food Stamps, TANF, etc. The National Guard could be called out for prison duty but because they're federally funded, the money for them to operate will also be frozen. How many will accept an IOU for that assignment for very long?

If you choose to take the position that the state needs a shutdown to get it's house in order, know the consequences no matter which side you're on. Social services may be distasteful but the answer is not abruptly halting them without some thoughtful unwinding. The chaos ensuing affects all citizens, because the ripple of destruction will run through the state economy on all levels.

Destruction is not the same as Disruption.

There are good reasons why even a partial shutdown is a very bad idea right now. A shutdown will destroy the state's credit rating. We are already insolvent and any money borrowed to operate will have to be paid back at higher interest rates due to bad credit. The entire state economy is in a precarious position and even a 24 hour shutdown will have a negative impact and far worse if protracted. The law suits against the state alone will hinder us for decades.

I am absolutely against spending money we don't have and are not likely to obtain in the near future. This is the worst possible time for taxation and I have grave doubts about the effectiveness of government social services. On the other hand I do not see any sense in further destruction of the state's economy and government, simply because some people don't understand that there is just not enough money, and others are too stubborn to reflect that destruction is irresponsible anarchy and nothing more than that.

If there ever was a time to call for cooler heads to prevail, this is it.


  1. Full agreement on the irresponsibility of these shutdowns (this comment coming from sunny California, the IOU State).

    Many would like us to this it's just those evil, faceless bureacrats whose paychecks will be held (and isn't fun to think of punishing that idiot who kept us waiting three hours in line at the DMV?). But the fact is those IOUs are going out to vendors and contractors of all types and sizes.

    Just think of all the private businesses it takes to serve a prison: food suppliers, linen suppliers, paint and tools, etc., etc. Many are small, local businesses, who will be laying people off - maybe your neighbors, maybe even you. This just slows down spending and drags the whole local economy down with it.

    Putting the state budget into stalemate doesn't just punisht the other political party, or inconvenience some distant bureaucracy, it reaches out into all our communities and further damages our states.

  2. I have been convinced for almost two years that on the opposite sides of the political spectrum, left and right, there is more common ground on ideas and ideals than differences. The only thing that stands in our way is the "social agenda" and cultural differences in perception of the other side. How we overcome that I am still not sure.

    This grandstanding on both sides, as we've both pointed out, is beneficial to no one. It disturbs me that one party seems to see all this as an opportunity to break the backs of some people and the other party refuses to examine the expense and effectiveness of government social programs. Something has to give in the dialogue or we all suffer together.

    A friend who works for the State Department of Corrections at "The Gate" where they receive goods also points out exactly what you wrote: "If a guy risks bringing his truck in here and unloads the local goods we need and receives an IOU...he's not going to have the money to repurchase and won't be back."

    It is not that we aren't just being represented properly by our elected officials. In Arizona the Legislature, governor and both political parties have been engaging in extra-legal activities and out of process. In that sense, these folks are our representatives in name only. Think about that.