In this case, the state capitol buildings in question were sold for $81 million, which Governor Jan Brewer and the other financial geniuses of the state celebrated as a nice little windfall, and I think Arizona passed a law saying anyone who mentioned at the time that the leasing-back costs for Arizona would be much, much more than that $81 million would be declared an illegal immigrant and deported.
Now Governor Brewer has another great cost saving idea. Can you guess what it might be? Why, buying those same buildings back, of course!
Citing the state's upcoming 100th birthday, Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday asked lawmakers to buy back three buildings at the Capitol that were mortgaged off two years ago to balance the budget.
The move will cost the state $105 million out of its current budget surplus. [...] Benson acknowledged the state actually got only $81 million for the state House, the Senate and the nine-story executive tower that includes Brewer's office when it negotiated a “sale-leaseback'' arrangement in 2010.
But he said that $24 million difference should not be seen as an exorbitant interest rate for just two years of borrowing. Instead, Benson said, it actually is a savings: If the state had taken the full 20 years to pay off the debt, the cost would be far more.
Well hell, that is a savings. Only losing $24 million in two short years? Why, think of how much money Arizona conservatives would have bled the state for if they had kept doing it for 20!
Of special note is Brewer couching it in patriotic and civic terms, suggesting that if you love your state you'd really want your lawmakers to own their own goddamn building:
“Most of our Capitol complex, including the building we gather in today, is not ours,'' Brewer said in her State of the State speech delivered in the House building. “So ... to make all of our Capitol truly ours once again, I'm asking that you send me a bill by Statehood Day that allows me to buy back the Capitol.''
Yes, yes. Imagine the pride of ownership everyone will feel when the State Capitol buildings are actually, er, owned by the state in question. It's the dawn of a brand new era.
Under Brewer, Arizona really has been quite the poster child for incompetent governance. Pawning state buildings in order to better fudge budget numbers was a classic conservative move (considering the transparently obvious impact on future budgets is much too math-using and/or forward-looking, i.e. liberal, i.e. probably communism). Now the right thing to do is to buy them back at much inflated prices, ignoring the whole why-the-hell-did-we-ever-do-that question that any sane person would bring up right about now, and to call the whole thing a net win because you could have lost much, much more money if you really wanted to. It's no "hey, let's institute an international boycott of the state for an egregiously racist set of new laws," but it's pretty good. I imagine Eric Cantor is looking at the whole thing as a source of inspiration. Maybe instead of buying bullets, the army can sign 20-year leases on each one; gotta be a profit in there for someone, after all.
Sorry, Arizona, you still have a way to go before you can improve upon the raw paranoid conspiracy theorizing that characterizes Florida conservatives or the union-busting-at-all-costs Republicanism of the Midwest, but if there was an award for the state with the all-around dumbest government, you're still in the running.