Back-room deals and closed doors are not the stuff of free governments. Our work is making governments more transparent and accountable to citizens.
It's time to raise a glass of wine. The Supreme Court this week declared unconstitutional state regulatory schemes that allow in-state wineries to ship directly to consumers, but ban out-of-state wineries from doing the same. The Goldwater Institute filed an amicus curiae brief in the case, arguing these anti-competitive laws violate the Commerce Clause and cannot be saved by the 21st Amendment, which ended Prohibition.
In 1998, the City of Tempe and America West Airlines entered into an agreement to redevelop part of downtown Tempe. The city agreed to convey property to America West for free and then pay America West approximately $15 million over twenty years. In return, America West pledged to develop the property and convey ownership of the improvements back to the city. Tempe agreed to then lease the property back to America West.
Illinois has given us just one more example of how allowing government to reward large contracts to private companies opens the door to corruption and abuse. This week, the state's auditor general issued a report finding that the agency responsible for cutting government waste instead spent lavishly and awarded multimillion-dollar contracts to consultants who might have had an inside track.
Cities throughout the valley are considering ordinances that will require fire sprinklers in new residential homes. It's no surprise that the leading proponents of such mandates are fire-sprinkler business owners.
In one of his regular email correspondences, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon wrote Friday, "I said that in order to be a GREAT city, THIS city needs to excel in three areas: Education, Public Safety and Jobs."
The mayor's prescription? "This downtown Phoenix Campus of ASU is the catalyst for the first - and the foundation for the other two.
If you want to know why a Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) is a good idea for Arizona, see this Goldwater Institute report released yesterday. In it, you'll find out how TABOR maintains a fiscally responsible limit on the state budget, could have put $4.5 billion back in Arizonans pockets, creates predictable and sustainable budget projections, and shifts power away from budget-siphoning special interests towards voters.
We've all been there. Usually after purchasing the newest electronic gizmo, we eventually file through the endless receipts, instructions, and warranty cards to find the rebate offers. Only, you now realize that perhaps your purchase doesn't qualify or you missed the eligible time frame. Such an experience may prompt you to curse the manufacturer and retailer, but you resolve to be more aware of such offers in the future.
Between 1998 and 2002, there were over 10,000 cases of actual or threatened government takings of private property for purposes of transferring property to other private owners. However, the practice of using local governments as real estate brokers for private developers may be coming to an end.
PHOENIX—On June 14, 2011, the Maricopa County Community College District board will decide whether or not to hike property tax rates on all homeowners by 3 percent. In March, the board agreed to raise tuition and other student fees. With state budget reductions in many areas of government, it isn’t surprising that MCCCD is looking for more revenue. But a Goldwater Institute investigation finds that the district has refused to cut administrative bloat or to implement recommendations that could save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars each year.
Randolph Lumm, the president of the elected governing board that oversees Maricopa County’s 10 community colleges, was concerned about administrative bloat. So he sheepishly asked the district’s chief administrator, Chancellor Rufus Glasper, for an explanation.
Lumm prefaced his email with praise.
“I think you’re doing a great job as Chancellor,” the board president wrote in the opening sentence of the message he sent in December 2010. “I want to be supportive and I still want to be able to express concerns when I have them.”