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For help with a story, contact Michael Kelley at (602) 633-8965 or mkelley@goldwaterinstitute.org.

  • Florida's Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts

    Posted on July 31, 2014 | Type: In the News

    The Personal Learning Scholarship Account Program (PLSA) was established in 2014 to provide parents the option to better meet the individual needs of their eligible children. Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts are administered by eligible nonprofit scholarship-funding organizations (SFO). Parents of eligible children may use the accounts to purchase approved goods or services, as well as provide for prepaid college plans.

  • NPR: Families With Disabled Kids Fire Back Against Teacher's Union Lawsuit Over New Program

    Posted on July 31, 2014 | Type: In the News

    Six Florida families with disabled children want to block a lawsuit challenging the state’s newest voucher program. They say a move by the state teacher’s union to invalidate a broader bill on educational choice options, is bad policy.

  • The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: A Review of Arizona’s Fiscal Transparency Efforts

    Posted on July 15, 2014 | Type: In the News | Author: Byron Schlomach

    Arizona government entered modern financial transparency in 2008 when the legislature approved the launch of the Arizona Open Books website. When the website came online in 2011, the state essentially opened its checkbook by posting individual transactions to the web. This report assesses the usefulness of Arizona’s Open Books website and reveals questionable financial transactions. The Arizona Open Books website proved useful in exposing some suspicious transactions, but transparency in Arizona still needs improvement. We were able to use the website to find wasteful spending on nearly $2.5 million worth of “Awards” and another $1 million on “Entertainment and Promotional” items in 2013. But the site did not provide sufficient detail to assess the legitimacy of suspicious transactions lumped into catch-all codes like “Other Professional Outside Services,” which totaled $289 million in 2013 alone. The bottom line is that while most of the state’s individual expenditures are posted for public scrutiny, it is still possible for waste, fraud, and abuse to hide in plain sight due to vague or cryptic descriptions of individual expenditures. Curious taxpayers are treated to accounting codes and code descriptions that often bear little resemblance to the purpose for which funds are expended. In addition, payroll abuses can be hidden because payroll is kept secret under current law even though public employee salaries are subject to open records. If Arizona’s state government is to be truly transparent, each transaction posted on Arizona Open Books needs an accompanying memo line to give citizens accurate descriptions of the specific purpose of each transaction. Sourcing of expenditures should be provided as well. Finally, specific details about the public payroll should be a centerpiece of Arizona Open Books.


    Posted on June 30, 2014 | Type: In the News

    Christina Sandefur, Goldwater Institute Senior Attorney, praised the high court's decision in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Monday, but warned that the decision does not get at the heart of defeating Obamacare. The Goldwater Institute's own legal challenge against the federal health care law, Coons v. Lew, could eviscerate the Obamacare law completely by invalidating the Independent Payment Advisory Board, the cost-rationing board that is the lynchpin of the federal law. That case is currently pending before the Ninth Circuit but is expected to be taken up by the Supreme Court in coming months. Sandefur stated:


    Posted on June 27, 2014 | Type: In the News

    More than a quarter century of an abusive union practice known as "pension spiking" has ended, thanks to the resolution of a Phoenix lawsuit Friday. Officials for the City of Phoenix agreed to cease the practice in new contracts imposed on public safety unions as the result of a lawsuit filed by the Goldwater Institute last year.

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