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Week in Review: Arizona’s Tax Mistake

November 14, 2020

While the 2020 elections resulted in several positive developments for freedom-lovers across America, Arizona’s passage of Proposition 208, a nearly $1 billion tax increase in the name of “education,” unfortunately bucks “against the trend of fiscal accountability,” Goldwater Institute President and CEO Victor Riches writes this week at National Review Online.

But to understand why the initiative passed, Riches writes, “one must first understand the tremendous shift in Arizona’s demographics over the past decade. Economically, no other state has benefited from the mass exodus of Californians as much as Arizona. This influx of new residents has been a boon to the construction industry and other key economic sectors—but it’s come with a political price.”

But at the Goldwater Institute, the fight for economic freedom goes on, and we will continue to work to make Arizona an attractive place for people to do business and earn a living. Our Breaking Down Barriers to Work law, passed last year in Arizona, makes it easier for licensed workers to continue in their careers when they move to the Grand Canyon State—and to date, 2,400 people have benefited from the law.

You can read Riches’ full op-ed here.

What Do These Government Workers Do All Day?

The answer isn’t a simple one: In states and municipalities across the country, many government workers are being paid their full salary and benefits to work not at the job they were hired to do, but instead work full-time for their union, on taxpayers’ dime.

It’s a practice known as release time—and while it exists across the country, we simply don’t know how widespread it is, because many governments don’t track release time. Goldwater Institute National Investigative Journalist Mark Flatten has researched municipalities across America to try to find out how prevalent release time is—and this past week, Goldwater released the latest investigative report in his release time series. “The Goldwater Institute identified at least 16 jurisdictions that allow at least one full-time release position when it surveyed the state departments of corrections, capital cities, and largest school districts in each state,” Flatten writes in his new report. “That means the sole duty of the people in those positions is to work for their unions.” But many jurisdictions do not identify full-time release positions clearly in their union contracts, so the extent of release time is pretty much unknowable.

You can read Flatten’s full report here—and you can check out the earlier reports in the series here and here.

Playing Politics with a COVID Vaccine

A vaccine for COVID-19 may be coming shortly, but even before it’s ready, some governors have already begun playing politics with this vital treatment. Goldwater’s Naomi Lopez and Timothy Sandefur write at In Defense of Liberty that Governor Jay Inslee of Washington has joined Oregon Governor Kate Brown, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, and California Governor Gavin Newsom in what they’re calling a Scientific Safety Review Working Group, with plans to impose a second layer of review on any vaccine that the FDA might approve for use in the United States.

This extra bureaucracy will serve to stand in the way of patients getting this needed vaccine. “There’s nothing wrong with reviewing safety information and data regarding newly authorized or newly approved vaccines, but no politician—not the President nor any governor—should be playing doctor, especially at a time when every day of delay takes an enormous toll on human lives, economic opportunity, and mental well-being,” write Lopez and Sandefur.

Read the full blog post here.

WATCH: ASU Law Discussion on Public Interest Litigation

What role does public interest litigation plays in enforcing the Constitution and advancing public policy goals? Goldwater Institute Director of National Litigation Jon Riches spoke to Arizona State University law students earlier this week as part of a panel discussion on this topic, talking about his own background in the law and sharing some highlights of Goldwater’s litigation work.

You can watch the discussion here, using the password D#U@uEd9.



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