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City & Local Reform

There are almost 90,000 local governments in America, with an average of one new local government born every day. Many are unaccountable to taxpayers and special interest-driven, and the Goldwater Institute’s “New Charter for American Cities” gives citizens the tools they need to fight City Hall and hold their local governments accountable.

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  • How Cities Can Drive Economic Growth in Five Easy Steps

    Posted on May 12, 2014 | Type: In the News | Author: Byron Schlomach

    Cities across the country struggled through the recent recession, and several even declared bankruptcy, including Stockton and San Bernardino in California, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Central Falls, Rhode Island and, perhaps most famously, Detroit, Michigan. Stockton’s decline has been harrowing as its finances have so declined that essential services, especially the police, have been reduced. The city’s gang and narcotics teams had to be disbanded even as the city saw its murder rate hit an all-time high in 2012. The city is learning to fight back with help from the county sheriff and changes to its policing methods, but real long-term damage has been done to its reputation. Even before its bankruptcy, Detroit had a plan on the table to reduce costs by demolishing abandoned houses and commercial buildings. The city’s decline has been so thorough that it has been used as an example of what happens to buildings in its Life After People series.

  • Public Money for Private Gain: Legal Strategies to End Taxpayer-Funded Union Activism and Pension Spiking

    Posted on May 12, 2014 | Type: Report

    Numerous states are shaking off decades-old union shackles that have dampened job growth, weighed down economies, and created fiscal crises. The rust-belt states of Michigan and Indiana are the latest to convert to right-to-work states, putting them on a better footing for economic growth. While private sector unions are shrinking, public sector unions aren’t retreating quietly, however. Public employee unions play an outsized role in electing state and local officials with whom they then typically bargain behind closed doors over wages and benefits. These unions are leveraging that power to push back against right to work and implement policies known as release time and pension spiking.

  • Cheatham v. DiCiccio

    Posted on April 24, 2014 | Type: Case

    In September, Goldwater Institute investigative reporter Mark Flatten released an investigative report showing that Phoenix and other Arizona cities spend millions of dollars every year to pay employees to perform union work on city time. It's called "release time." The Goldwater Institute is taking on the city's contract with the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA). By executing this deal with PLEA, the members of the Phoenix City Council have violated the Arizona Constitution and their duty of loyalty to the taxpayers.

  • Arizona Commerce Cronies: Picking and Choosing Winners With Your Tax Dollars

    Posted on March 20, 2014 | Type: Report | Author: Emily Gersema

    Most government departments and agencies have a governing board, council or commission that discusses and makes major spending decisions in public meetings. However, the state laws that govern the ACA allow the board of directors, its committees, subcommittees and advisory councils to discuss business opportunities in executive session. The chief executive officer, who does not have to hold public meetings to discuss or vote on which businesses the agency will aid, has unilateral authority to award subsidies.

  • Hirshman v. Rothschild (Bid Preference Suit)

    Posted on February 06, 2014 | Type: Case

    The City of Tucson recently enacted a discriminatory local bid preference ordinance, casting off the fundamental concepts of fairness, openness, and predictability in the public procurement process. In doing so, the city raised costs for taxpayers in Tucson and throughout the state, guaranteeing Tucsonans will pay more for public services, while encouraging other cities to discriminate against Tucson businesses that seek to do work outside Old Pueblo.

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