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  • How Cities Can Drive Economic Growth in Five Easy Steps

    Posted on May 12, 2014 | Type: Policy Report | Author: Byron Schlomach

    Cities across the country struggled through the recent recession, and several even declared bankruptcy, including Stockton and San Bernardino in California, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Central Falls, Rhode Island and, perhaps most famously, Detroit, Michigan. Stockton’s decline has been harrowing as its finances have so declined that essential services, especially the police, have been reduced. The city’s gang and narcotics teams had to be disbanded even as the city saw its murder rate hit an all-time high in 2012. The city is learning to fight back with help from the county sheriff and changes to its policing methods, but real long-term damage has been done to its reputation. Even before its bankruptcy, Detroit had a plan on the table to reduce costs by demolishing abandoned houses and commercial buildings. The city’s decline has been so thorough that it has been used as an example of what happens to buildings in its Life After People series.

  • Public Money for Private Gain: Legal Strategies to End Taxpayer-Funded Union Activism and Pension Spiking

    Posted on May 12, 2014 | Type: Policy Report

    Numerous states are shaking off decades-old union shackles that have dampened job growth, weighed down economies, and created fiscal crises. The rust-belt states of Michigan and Indiana are the latest to convert to right-to-work states, putting them on a better footing for economic growth. While private sector unions are shrinking, public sector unions aren’t retreating quietly, however. Public employee unions play an outsized role in electing state and local officials with whom they then typically bargain behind closed doors over wages and benefits. These unions are leveraging that power to push back against right to work and implement policies known as release time and pension spiking.

  • Everyone Deserves the Right to Try: Empowering the Terminally Ill to Take Control of their Treatment

    Posted on February 11, 2014 | Type: Policy Report | Author: Christina Corieri

    For patients suffering from terminal illnesses, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the arbiter of life and death. These patients, suffering from diseases ranging from ALS to Zellweger Syndrome, face little chance of recovery. For patients like Kianna, investigational medicines provide a glimmer of hope. The FDA, however, often stands between the patients and the treatments that may alleviate their symptoms or provide a cure. To access these treatments, patients must either go through a lengthy FDA exemption process or wait for the treatments to receive FDA approval, which can take a decade or more and cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Sadly, over half a million cancer patients and thousands of patients with other terminal illnesses die each year as the bureaucratic wheels at the FDA slowly turn.

  • A Vision for Education and the Future of Learning

    Posted on January 18, 2014 | Type: Policy Report | Author: Jonathan Butcher

    Decades of stagnant student test scores and underwhelming high school graduation rates in Arizona and around the country substantiate Mitra’s isolated findings. Traditional classrooms cannot equip every child for whatever their unique future holds, whether they move on to college or enter the job market. In fact, school, as we have known it, may be part of the problem. Students shouldn’t be assigned to a school based on their ZIP code. They should be free to choose the best classes, tutors, or extracurricular activities from a menu of options online or in traditional classrooms, no matter where they live.

  • A New Day for School Choice: Education Savings Accounts Turn 3 Years Old

    Posted on January 16, 2014 | Type: Policy Report | Author: Jonathan Butcher

    This policy brief reviews the accounts’ first years of operation. Legislative changes since lawmakers enacted the accounts have given more children access, and in 2013, researchers conducted the first studies of how families are using the accounts. This brief will cover the new legislation and research, along with developments in a lawsuit that an Arizona teachers’ union and school boards’ association filed against the accounts. Finally, this report will offer three recommendations for education savings account expansion, fraud prevention, and academic transparency.

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