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State Treasurer Dean Martin Tries to Avoid State Bankruptcy

By Howard Fischer

Phoenix, AZ – Martin said the problem is Arizona is spending about $28 million a day while bringing in less than $23 million in taxes.

"It definitely is a path towards bankruptcy if there's no changes in spending. You can't ignore your bills forever. The state's done that for about a year and a half as revenues have continued to drop. Spending has gone the other direction," Martin said.

Martin stated that continuing with this behavior will create times when there's no money in the state's bank account. He said lawmakers can help by letting him delay paying some bills until the 25th of each month.

"The 25th is when electronic sales tax payments are made. And if we can simply shift from to the 25th on some of the payments, that will allow us not to have to borrow as much money on a daily basis," said Martin.

However, Martin said lawmakers and the governor need to cut spending - and soon. Martin's predictions of fiscal peril were dismissed by Napolitano press aide Jeanine L'Ecuyer who said his numbers presume nothing will change.

"Things will change," Martin insisted. "I mean, it is quite likely if President-elect Obama gets his way there's going to be a stimulus package pretty soon. And then there is a budget the governor will present to the Legislature that we believe would take it a long way toward avoiding any problems."

Martin said the fix needs to be more than the same kind of budget gimmicks and borrowing used to balance last year's budget.