Back-room deals and closed doors are not the stuff of free governments. Our work is making governments more transparent and accountable to citizens.
Movie director Peter Jackson began his Lord of the Rings saga with an ominous message: The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air, Cate Blanchett darkly says. Much that once was is lost.
We have the same sense of foreboding when considering Arizona's unresolved budget crisis, without the Hollywood ending. Arizona has been fortunate to have a vibrant economy and falling poverty rates, but a series of bad policy decisions now puts this at risk.
Scottsdale's Motor Mile just may be one of the most profitable corners of real estate in Arizona. Featuring luxury cars such as Bentley and Rolls-Royce, its a safe bet most Arizonans probably will spend more time dreaming about cars like these than driving them. So why are taxpayers footing bills for these dealerships? A few years ago, the Scottsdale City Council voted to give $1.5 million to 19 car dealers for an ad campaign to make the area the ultimate car buying destination. I guess 19 car dealerships weren't obvious enough.
Tucson's legislators scored poorly on the Goldwater Institute's 2003 Legislative Report Card, which grades legislators according to their commitment to free markets, limited government, rule of law, individual liberty, and individual responsibility.
In fact, Tucson Districts 27, 28, and 29 had some of the lowest scores in the state. None of those districts produced a legislator with a score higher than 39 percent, which translates to an "F+" on the Institute's (rather generous) grading scale.
When I arrived at the Goldwater Institute more than 10 years ago as 29-year-old political neophyte, I was dispatched by the board of directors to meet with then-Speaker of the House Jane Hull. I was surprised at how happy she was to meet someone she didn't know.
I soon realized she would have been happy to meet anyone who was about to replace the first president of the Goldwater Institute, Michael Sanera. Sanera had proved to be a constant irritant to Speaker Hull and many other public officials.
Tucson's city officials are having second thoughts about building an aquarium as part of the Rio Nuevo downtown development project. Given the shaky financial state of aquariums nationwide, second thoughts are in order.
The aquarium boom has cost more than $1 billion and resulted in many bankruptcies. Now that they've got their thinking caps on, city officials should have another look at Rio Nuevo itself.
Rio Nuevo is an ambitious example of the Downtown Disneyland theory of urban redevelopment.
Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government. - Thomas Jefferson
There are more than 87,000 local governments in the nation (639 of them in Arizona). Therefore, the average voter and even the most dedicated researcher might be forgiven for not knowing what many governments are doing. Without more open government, voters will remain uninformed and government unaccountable.
Phoenix--Congress is considering whether to expand the reach of the federal Clean Water Act. But is expanding a law designed for water-rich environments like Florida good for the drought-stricken deserts of Arizona? A new report from the Goldwater Institute says no.
Phoenix--More than 100 candidates running for office in Arizona this year are committed to making government more transparent. 116 incumbents and challengers running for almost every office, from every county, and from across the political spectrum, signed a pledge to prove their commitment to open government.
Phoenix's debate is brewing in Arizona over a voter initiative aimed at ending racial and gender preferences in government employment, contracting, and at universities. Opponents of the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative say there are no preference programs in Arizona to end and the initiative is a solution in search of a problem.
Phoenix -- Mark Twain once quipped, No mans life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session. That certainly held true in Arizona this year. The 2007 legislative session was the worst for freedom in five years, according to the Goldwater Institutes fifth annual Legislative Report Card released today.