Office of the University Economist logo

Public Finance

Taxes and public-sector expenditures are economic development factors that contribute to the competitiveness of a region. In addition, with Arizona’s public universities partially supported by the State of Arizona, the fiscal resources and health of state government is of importance to the universities.

University Economist Reports

Ensuring That Arizona State Government's Budget Stabilization Fund Serves Its Purpose, June 2012
Simulates the functioning of the budget stabilization fund under differing specifications and presents recommendations to improve the operation of the fund.

Creating Jobs in Arizona by Building and Renovating Physical Infrastructure, October 2011
Following an analysis of economic conditions, this paper examines actions that can be taken by state governments to stimulate the economy. The only action that results in a significant near-term effect is to accelerate spending on physical infrastructure that has already been identified as needed.

Capital Gains in Arizona and the Effect on State Government General Fund Revenues, July 2011
Reviews the cyclicality of capital gains and the impact of these fluctuations on general fund revenues. Includes a short-term forecast of capital gains.

Tax and Expenditure Limitation Proposals in Arizona, March 2011
Analyzes several proposals to create a new state government revenue or expenditure limit in Arizona, and compares the proposals to Colorado's TABOR.

Arizona Constitution: Specified Duties of State Government, November 2010
Functions of state government that are specified in the Arizona Constitution are examined in this paper. A decades-long history of state government funding for these functions is analyzed. Particular attention is given to education, which is discussed in the most detail in the Constitution.

Roadmap to Arizona's Economic Recovery: A Package to Create Jobs, Improve the State's Economic Competitiveness, and Balance the Budget, January 2010
A plan to balance the state government's budget in the near term and longer term, to create jobs in the near term, and to improve the state's economic competitiveness in the longer term.

     Addendum: Revenue Forecast Details, March 2010
     Discusses the baseline revenue forecast used in Roadmap to Arizona's Economic Recovery: A Package to Create
     Jobs, Improve the State's Economic Competitiveness, and Balance the Budget.

The Tax Burden in Arizona, May 2009
A review of studies that assess the tax burden by state. The tax burden of individuals is contrasted to the business tax burden.

A Summary of the Arizona State Government Fiscal Situation, March 2009
A summary of five reports -- the three volumes of Public Finance in Arizona, Education Funding in Arizona: Constitutional Requirement and the Empirical Record, and The Economic Effects of Government Spending Reductions Relative to Other Options. New and updated material are included.

Abbreviated Version of a Summary of the Arizona State Government Fiscal Situation, March 2009
Formatted as a PowerPoint presentation.

The Economic Effects of Government Spending Reductions Relative to Other Options, February 2009
Presents the results of economic modeling of the effects of spending reductions and tax increases in Arizona in order to resolve the Arizona state general fund budget deficit.

Education Funding in Arizona: Constitutional Requirement and the Empirical Record, January 2009
An examination of public funding for elementary and secondary education and higher education in Arizona from historical and interstate perspectives, in light of the funding mandate expressed in the Arizona Constitution. An evaluation of public education in Arizona is included.

A Response to the Goldwater Institute's Proposals for Closing the State Government Budget Deficit, December 2008
Illustrates the consequences of the spending reductions recommended by the Goldwater Institute to close the budget deficit, and discusses the philosophy embodied in the recommendations.

Public Finance in Arizona, December 2008
A series of three reports that discuss government finance in Arizona.

Volume I: Facts
Analyses of Arizona state government finance, using data of the Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee, and of the combined finances of all state and local governments within Arizona, using data of the U.S. Census Bureau. A historical perspective is provided for both datasets. For combined state and local government finance, comparisons are made to other states and to the national average. In addition, other measures of the tax burden by state are examined.

Volume II: Concepts and Issues
Addresses the conceptual and empirical relationships between taxes, government revenue, and economic growth. Also discusses current issues specific to Arizona state government finance. This is a revised version of the report “Tax Reductions, the Economy, and the Deficit in the Arizona State Government General Fund,” incorporating new and updated material.

Volume III: Options for Managing the Arizona State General Fund
Presents options and offers recommendations for managing the Arizona state government general fund. The near-term budget deficit is addressed as well as ways to prevent budget deficits from recurring every time economic growth slows.

Tax Reductions, the Economy and the Deficit in the Arizona State Government General Fund, November 2008
The effects of the tax law changes implemented in Arizona since the early 1990s, the relationship between taxes and economic growth, and the current state government budget deficit are discussed.

Tax Law Changes in Arizona Since 1989 and the Impact on Government Revenues and Economic Growth, June 2008
Using data from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, an analysis of the change in state government revenues and the relationship of such tax law changes and subsequent economic growth.

Public Investment Using Debt Financing and the Effect on Economic Activity: Perspectives for the State of Arizona, January 2008
A discussion of the use of long-term debt by governments to finance long-lasting infrastructure projects, including an empirical analysis of the relationship between debt burdens and economic growth.

Changes in State Government Spending Compared to Changes in Income in Arizona Since 1990, March 2007
Using data from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, an analysis of the change in state government expenditures and gains in income.

A Brief Analysis of Issues Associated With Debt Financing for the State of Arizona “Students First” School Capital Funding System, March 2007
Compares the existing system of financing the construction of new schools through current expenditures from the general fund with the alternative of using long-term debt financing.

Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, February 2005
Examines efforts to limit the growth of state and local governments through tax and expenditure limitations, analyzing the effect of such a measure in Colorado, and discussing possible effects of a similar measure in Arizona.

Related Articles and Reports

2014 Tax Handbook, Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee, September 2014

Arizona's Eroding Sales Tax Base, University of Arizona, Economic and Business Research Center, June 2014

Annual State-Local Tax Burden Ranking, Tax Foundation, April 2014

Arizona's General Fund Operating Expenditure Trends, 1979-2013, University of Arizona, Economic and Business Research Center, November 2013

Arizona General Fund Tax Revenues: An Historical Perspective, University of Arizona, Economic and Business Research Center, November 2013

Total State and Local Business Taxes, Council on State Taxation, July 2013

The Effects of Tax Reductions in Arizona: Significantly Reduced Government Revenue and No Apparent Impact on Economic Growth, Grand Canyon Institute, February 2013

Structurally Unbalanced: Cyclical and Structural Deficits in Arizona, Arizona State University, Morrison Institute for Public Policy, January 2011

Improving the Fiscal System of Arizona State Government, Arizona State University, L. William Seidman Research Institute, prepared for the Arizona School Boards Association, May 2010

Arizona's Budget Crisis: How Did We Get Here and Where Are We Going?, KnowWPC, April 23, 2010

Arizona Town Hall Calls for Bold Action to Solve the State's Fiscal Crisis, KnowWPC, November 10, 2009

Riding the Fiscal Roller Coaster: Government Revenue in Arizona, 95th Arizona Town Hall, November 2009

A Fiscal Tool Box, Arizona Citizens Finance Review Commission, 2003

Related Links

Arizona Indicators - Public Finance

Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee

Arizona Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting

Arizona Tax Research Association

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

National Association of State Budget Officers

National Conference of State Legislatures

U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Government Finance