PHOENIX-Arizona voters upheld a key constitutional safeguard in a move that protects the free enterprise system and ensures that universities can continue their academic missions, despite a well-financed campaign by Arizona's political establishment. In a report released October 12, Goldwater Institute analysts cautioned that the proposed amendment, which would have allowed state universities to take ownership interests in private companies, would have erased an important protection for taxpayers, opened the door to public corruption, and given select corporations an unfair business advantage.
"The Goldwater Institute will continue to be vigilant and ensure that voters have the information they need about changes that threaten the Arizona Constitution," said Mark Brnovich, director of the Goldwater Institute Center for Constitutional Government and co-author of the Goldwater Institute report. The Goldwater Institute was cited as the only voice of opposition to the proposed amendment. As longtime political observer and Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb wrote, "Arizona's elites have strongly coalesced in favor of Proposition 102. The only voice of dissent is coming from the Goldwater Institute, which issued a report critical of Proposition 102."
Proponents of the measure argued that the change was necessary "to drive the economy." Goldwater researchers maintained the constitutional change was both unnecessary and unwise, citing the highly flexible licensing laws that Arizona universities enjoy, and the 220 patent applications and 124 licensing agreements ASU entered in just 2003 alone.
"This move suggests Arizona voters want state universities to educate students, and private businesses to drive the economy," said Brnovich.
Contacts: Mark Brnovich, J.D., Director, Goldwater Institute Center for Constitutional Government, (602) 462-5000 x 227, firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrea Woodmansee, Director of Communications, Goldwater Institute, (602) 462-5000 x 226, email@example.com