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Pawn the Roundhouse!

July 30, 2009, 12:00 am
By SFR Staff


UPDATE: Jim Scarantino over at the New Mexico Liberty pitched a similar ideal day earlier. He suggested we sell the Roundhouse. I'm suggesting we pawn it...Ok, ok. I need to read the Liberty more often.

Want to melt the state's hiring freeze? Want pay raises for teachers? Want to expand health care? Forget the stimulus package. Let's pawn the Roundhouse!

That's what legislators in Arizona are considering in their desperation: Sell Capitol buildings and other state properties, lease 'em back, then re-purchase them when (if) the budget's flush again. The estimated gain: $735 million.

From AP:
Desperate for cash, Arizona state lawmakers are considering selling the House and Senate buildings, then leasing them back over several years before assuming ownership again...

Under the complex financial arrangement, state government services would continue without interruption while the state picks up a cash infusion estimated by Capitol number-crunchers at $735 million.

Gov. Jan Brewer said Wednesday she hadn't made any decisions on which state properties should be sold.

For investors, the deal means long-term lease payments from a stable source.

"What they want is an asset that you're not going to walk away from," said Tom Manos, Gov. Jan Brewer's top fiscal adviser.

I don't know what we could raise off selling the Roundhouse. And I don't know how much we'd need to lease back considering the Legislature's only in session 30-60 days each year (give or take a few special session weeks).

Most of the year, a full three floors are left unoccupied. Maybe we could rent back a few rooms for the legislature's interim committees and let the buyers rent out the rest as some super-prime convention space. (How cool would it be for the National Association of Registered Proctologists to convene their meetings from the desks on the House floor?)

Actually, now that I think about it, maybe selling out our government to the highest bidder ain't such a great idea.

 

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