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Week in Review: AZ Can Make History with Trailblazing Tax Reform

June 5, 2021

“Whereas most of Arizona’s governors have fallen somewhere between unremarkable and abysmal,” Arizona Governor Doug Ducey “has the opportunity to break this mold and leave a permanent, positive mark on the state,” writes Goldwater Institute President & CEO Victor Riches this week at National Review Online.

How can he do that? Riches writes that Ducey has the rare chance to take on Arizona’s antiquated tax code, “one made much worse by the recent passage of Proposition 208.” While Prop. 208 was billed as a way to increase funding for the state’s K-12 education system, Goldwater Institute research has found that the benefits just aren’t there. In fact, an in-depth study published by Goldwater Institute shows, if left unchallenged, the measure would result in the loss of over 100,000 jobs as well as a significant loss of revenue to local and state coffers.

Even with a court victory over Prop 208, though, Arizona would still have four separate income-tax brackets. But with a significant budget surplus this year, Governor Ducey and the legislature have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to streamline Arizona’s income tax brackets and use that money to benefit all Arizonans. “This would return Arizona to its historical position as one of the lowest-tax states in the country…This would be a huge victory and would make Arizona’s income-tax rate the lowest of the ‘flat tax’ states,” Riches writes.

You can read Riches’ full op-ed here, and you can listen to him discuss it on The Jeff Oravits Show here.

Academics or Activism?

These days, it seems like many schools are more interested in being “woke” than actually imparting needed lessons to young students. And parents are fed up.

One of those parents is Texas mom Rebekah Randall. In her children’s school, she saw that lessons were less about learning the fundamentals and more about making race the most important factor of every story. “They have moved away from the academic rigor that they had, and are focusing on ‘political correctness,’” Randall says. She ultimately made the decision to pull her children out of that school and instead enrolls them in one more committed to academics.

Randall’s experience is increasingly common—and that’s bad news for America’s kids. “Children should not have to spend their days considering how racial bias can be found in every lesson,” writes Goldwater Senior Fellow Jonathan Butcher. But unfortunately, that’s exactly the lesson they’re getting when Critical Race Theory is the prevailing curriculum. “Critical race theory’s ‘endgame’ is conflict,” Butcher says—it’s all about dividing students and emphasizing their differences rather than their commonalities.

But many Americans are starting to push back, understanding that we are more of a united country than a divided one. One just-launched group, Color Us United (CUU), promises to be a voice for those who believe that the accusations about racism in America have gone too far, for those who believe that not every issue ought to be viewed through the lens of racism. CUU plans to push back against the media, legislators, and companies who foment racial division in America, and instead work to create a more united and free America. You can read more about this new group’s efforts here.

Parents Need Academic Transparency

When parents have spoken up and voiced their concerns about Critical Race Theory in their children’s schools, the reception hasn’t been warm, to say the least. Instead, writes Goldwater Director of Education Policy Matt Beienburg at In Defense of Liberty, many school boards have tried to intimidate parents into submission.

Rhode Island mother Nicole Solas found herself the target of potential litigation, when the South Kingstown School Board threated to sue her for making entirely legal requests for public records to uncover what content is being used in the district’s classrooms. While the school board ultimately voted against pursuing legal action this week, it’s yet another example of how far school districts will go to shut down parents when they dare to challenge schools’ power to teach a divisive curriculum.

But the Goldwater Institute is leading a nationwide effort to help parents know just what their children are learning. Our Academic Transparency Act, which has been adapted into legislation passed by the Arizona State Senate and the North Carolina House of Representatives this spring and is now also being advanced in Wisconsin, would provide parents unprecedented access to the classroom materials being presented to their kids, Beienburg says. Under the legislation, schools would post on a publicly accessible portion of their website a list of the actual materials being used in student instruction so that prospective parents like Solas could immediately review the type of content awaiting her daughter if she were to enroll at the local public district school.

“With academic transparency, those roadblocks to parental awareness and engagement can become a thing of the past,” Beienburg writes. You can learn more about Goldwater’s efforts to shine a light on school curriculum here.



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