A government that operates behind closed doors cannot be the government of a free people. The Goldwater Institute has prompted several reforms shining light into the inner workings of government, including the nation’s most comprehensive online database of line-by-line government spending and restrictions on politicians using tax money for self-promotion. Our regular watchdog reports are helping citizens hold their elected officials accountable.
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Arizona Appeals Court Says Government Must Respect VotersPosted 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.
Tiny Somerton, Ariz. leads the way in transparencyPosted on March 06, 2013 | Type: Blog | Author: Byron Schlomach
With a population of 14,500 and a location south of Yuma, until recently I had never even heard of Somerton, Arizona. Yet, this tiny town serves as one of the best examples of what financial transparency by the government ought to look like.
Shine a Light on Backroom Union DealsPosted on January 23, 2013 | Type: Blog | Author: Nick Dranias
Secret government union collective bargaining is the law in eleven states, including Alaska, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Wisconsin. In Arizona, at least eight major cities keep collective bargaining with government unions in the dark. The secrecy imposed by towns like Avondale, Chandler and Maricopa even expressly prohibits any city employee from sharing records of negotiations with the news media and their own city council members.
Airing Out the Smoke-filled Rooms: Bringing Transparency to Public Union Collective BargainingPosted on January 17, 2013 | Type: Policy Report | Author: Nick Dranias
When total secrecy in negotiations is combined with laws forcing government employers to engage in collective bargaining—often euphemistically called “meet and confer”—government unions are free to deploy maximum leverage in negotiations—consisting of political pressure and monopoly power—while hiding from any meaningful oversight. It is no wonder that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has most recently reported that state and local government employees make nearly 43 percent more per hour on average in total compensation than private sector workers. Even when controlling for similar occupations and skills, Arizona pays its employees average hourly total compensation that is nearly 20 percent more than what is paid to private sector workers.
Airing Out the Smoke-filled Rooms: Bringing Transparency to Public Union Collective BargainingPosted on January 17, 2013 | Type: Press Release
Secret negotiations over employment contracts between union representatives and government officials are the norm in nearly every state in the union. This keeps taxpayers in the dark about how inflated compensation packages are awarded and even stops journalists from knowing what goes on behind closed doors. In a report released by the Goldwater Institute, Director of Policy Development Nick Dranias and economists Byron Schlomach and Stephen Slivinski survey all 50 states’ transparency requirements for collective bargaining negotiations. The study finds that a mere seven states have open government laws on the books to bring these negotiations out of the shadows.