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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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  • Cheatham v. DiCiccio

    Posted on April 24, 2013 | 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.

  • Media Advisory: Ruling Halts Taxpayer-Funded Union Activism

    Posted on April 23, 2013 | Type: Press Release

    Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday against the practice of “release time” in a Phoenix labor contract with the local police union, the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA). Release time is a provision in government labor contracts allowing public employees to collect taxpayer-funded salaries and benefits while being "released" to do union work, including lobbying, electioneering, and other forms of political activism.

  • Phoenix and Tucson Try to Skirt Election Law

    Posted on April 18, 2013 | Type: Blog | Author: Taylor Earl

    Like most states across the country, Arizona has long suffered from abysmally low voter turnout in local elections. In the state’s two largest cities – Phoenix and Tucson – voter turnout rates for the most recent local candidate elections hovered at a mere 30 percent.

  • Arizona Appeals Court Says Government Must Respect Voters

    Posted on March 13, 2013 | Type: Blog | Author: Christina Sandefur

    In a recent unanimous decision, the Arizona Court of Appeals held that school districts can't spend bond money on unapproved purposes when voters authorized that money for specific projects. This decision protects the state constitutionally-guaranteed rights of taxpayers and ensures that governments can't renege on their bond agreements with the voters.

  • Keeping Emergency Measures Limited to Emergency Situations

    Posted on October 18, 2012 | Type: Blog | Author: Carrie Ann Sitren

    Busted sewer lines, leaky roofs, and debris in the road are all emergencies. Apartment complexes have hotlines for emergency maintenance, which residents can call even on a Sunday afternoon or in the middle of the night. Cities have a process for emergencies too. Councilmembers can convene on short notice and approve urgent action, and the normal city rules for getting competitive bids and providing public notice of a hearing are waived. For public emergencies, whatever action a government takes is effective immediately because there is no time to wait 30 days for citizens to take out a referendum on what the council approves.

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