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Week in Review: Goldwater Sues to Stop Billion-Dollar Tax Hike in Arizona

December 5, 2020

The Goldwater Institute filed a lawsuit on Monday on behalf of a coalition of Arizona taxpayers, legislators, and small business groups to challenge the legality of Proposition 208, an unconstitutional billion-dollar tax increase that would be devastating to Arizona’s economy.

“Prop. 208 slams the state’s middle-wage earners and small-business owners at a time when they can least afford it,” said Victor Riches, President and CEO of the Goldwater Institute. “Prop. 208 violates the state Constitution, and it deprives the people’s elected representatives of their constitutional authority. The Goldwater Institute is taking a stand to challenge the legality of Prop. 208 and to protect Arizona taxpayers against this illegal and ill-conceived measure.”

In the fall of 2020, a group of out-of-state unions and special interest groups placed Prop. 208 on the Arizona ballot to raise taxes by nearly $1 billion. The initiative is likely to drive businesses out of the state and to slow business growth, resulting in the long term in some 124,000 fewer new jobs over the next decade, and a loss of $2.4 billion in state and local taxes.

But Proposition 208 isn’t just bad economic policy—it’s also illegal. Read more about why the proposition is in violation of the Arizona Constitution and what Goldwater is doing to fight it.

Taxpayers Lose and Unions Win in “Labor Peace” Bargains

Union release time is supposed to bring “labor peace” to the states, cities, and school districts that pay union officials to do union work.

It did not turn out that way in April 2018, when an estimated 75,000 school teachers and support personnel throughout Arizona walked off the job for more than a week demanding higher pay as part of the union-backed “Red for Ed” movement. The protests amounted to a statewide teachers’ strike that forced the closure of more than 1,000 schools and affected about 850,000 students.

Ultimately, the walkouts ended after state officials agreed to the 20% pay hike the teachers and their unions demanded.

The teachers returned to work. Schools reopened. And there were no consequences for either the teachers or the unions that helped organize and encourage the walkouts.

It’s not supposed to happen that way.

In the latest in a series of special reports, Goldwater Institute National Investigative Journalist Mark Flatten uncovers the truth behind these “labor peace” bargains and whether costly giveaways to unions are necessary in order to maintain good labor-management relations. Read Flatten’s report here.

Teleforum: The Danger of State-Level Antirust Laws

Antitrust laws are a significant threat to economic liberty and private property.  At a time when the nation’s economy is under unprecedented strain, it would be dangerously foolish for politicians to use these laws to punish their political enemies—and, in the process, set legal precedents that would increase government control over business. Sadly, that appears to be the intention of many prominent leaders of both political parties. And while important voices have begun raising the alarm, what’s not so well known is that states have their own antitrust laws—and state officials have authority to file federal antitrust lawsuits—which leads to a whole new level of danger for business owners. 

The Goldwater Institute’s Timothy Sandefur recently joined Ashley Baker of the Alliance on Antitrust and Paul Watkins of Patomak General Partners to talk about the dangerous vagueness and arbitrariness of state-level antitrust law on a teleforum that you can watch here



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