Goldwater Institute Calls Napolitano Address a Missed Opportunity

Posted on January 12, 2004 | Type: Press Release
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PHOENIX -- Scholars at the Goldwater Institute responded today to Gov. Janet Napolitano's State of the State address, expressing disappointment that the governor's speech was short on real solutions for solving Arizona's problems. "Arizonans deserve a serious discussion of important issues, including the budget deficit," said Goldwater Institute president Darcy Olsen. "Instead, the governor proposed 30 new or expanded programs and spending initiatives and only one measure to trim waste in government. At 30:1, the odds are good that her 'New Arizona' will become like the Old California: long on debt and short on progress."

Institute scholars expressed similar disappointment with regard to the governor's statements on education, arguing that what Arizona schoolchildren really need are the benefits of a market-based education system. "It's nice that the governor arranged for every first-grade student to receive a book," said Goldwater education policy analyst Vicki Murray. "But we need to become a state where all first-grade children can actually read books." Research from Harvard, Stanford and Columbia universities shows that introducing competition through measures such as vouchers and scholarships improves student achievement more than any other single reform measure.

Matt Ladner, director of the Institute's Center for Economic Prosperity, expressed disappointment in the governor's lack of attention to tax and budget policy, which he described as a "mere footnote" in the governor's speech. Ladner explained that Arizona is facing fierce competition from neighboring states such as Nevada, which has no income tax, and Colorado, which has lower rates for corporate and personal income taxes than Arizona does. "Unfortunately," Ladner said, "The governor's main idea for promoting economic prosperity was to spend taxpayer money on corporate welfare-what she called 'venture capital.' But it is not possible for a state government to spend its way to prosperity."

Mark Brnovich, director of the Institute's Center for Constitutional Government, described the governor's speech as "a missed opportunity," noting that the governor said nothing about transportation issues, protecting private property rights, reducing crime, or dealing with the state land trust, and said almost nothing about Arizona's water problems. "In short," Brnovich concluded, "The governor neglected some of most important issues facing the state."

Goldwater Contact: Darcy Olsen, President, Goldwater Institute, (602) 462-5000

Press Contact: Tom Jenney, Director of Communications, Goldwater Institute, (602) 712-1257

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