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Week in Review: Homeschooling Mom Hit with $1,000+ Bill

August 8, 2020

Piper Searfoss is an Arizona mom whose days are filled with homeschooling and therapies for her kids. Thanks to the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs) program, she has been able to get resources to provide her children with the custom education they need and deserve. But because of the Arizona Department of Education’s mismanagement of the ESA program, she has hit a roadblock in trying to educate her children—and was wrongly forced to pay over $1,000 to the state.

Arizona’s ESA program has been a lifeline and a game-changer for thousands of kids who need educational support the most—special needs kids, children of military families, children on Native American reservations, and kids in failing and near-failing school districts. But the ESA program is threatened by mismanagement and arbitrary, confusing rules. Piper’s story is a case in point.

“We were forced to pay back over $1,000 in what was labeled as ‘misspending,’ and most of those items I had verbal approvals for,” Piper explained. “We’re not purchasing random things just because we feel like it. Everything is educational or has a purpose within education. That affects our day-to-day, trying to figure out how to deal with that and stressing over it.”

The Goldwater Institute is suing the Department on behalf of Piper and other families who benefit from ESAs and who are suffering from the state’s mismanagement of the program. Watch Piper’s story here and learn more about the Goldwater Institute’s effort to help these ESA families.

Taxpayers Footing the Bill for Private Real Estate Projects? No Way.

Is it okay to force taxpayers to subsidize private real estate projects? The answer ought to be a clear “no”: These kinds of tax incentives are a clear example of government simply giving away taxpayer dollars to fund real estate developers’ projects.

The Goldwater Institute is fighting back against this violation of taxpayers’ rights. We recently had a substantial victory challenging this tax charade, when a judge in Maricopa County struck down a major subsidy deal under the Arizona Constitution’s Gift Clause, a provision that prohibits public aid for private activities. You can read more about that case here.

In the new Lincoln Institute documentary “Taxes and Towers,” Goldwater Director of National Litigation Jon Riches discusses the subsidy in Phoenix and how it is harmful to taxpayers, the broader public, and ultimately, organic and sound municipal growth. You can watch the full video documentary here.

Arizona Court Gives Teachers Union Tax Hike an ‘F’

For the second time in a row, a court has thrown the Arizona Education Association’s near-$1 billion “InvestInEd” tax hike plan off the ballot because of flagrant violations of state law and the union’s failure to properly disclose to voters what they had actually snuck into the initiative.

Under the union’s plan, Arizona taxpayers would have been forced to pay nearly $1 billion per year in additional funding for the state’s K-12 system. Lest you forget, that’s on top of the annual $650 million that Arizona lawmakers recently authorized for 20% teacher pay raises, plus an additional $370 million a year in K-12 funding restorations. You can read more about the cynical InvestInEd math here.

InvestInEd would have devastating consequences for individuals, businesses, and the state’s economy. But be forewarned: should the court’s decision be overturned, InvestinEd’s could gain new life at a significant cost to Arizona — and we’re joining in the legal fight. Read more from Matt Beienburg, Director of Education Policy for the Goldwater Institute.

Join us for our 2020 Virtual Annual Dinner with Special Guest Dennis Prager

You’re invited to join us for the Goldwater Institute’s 2020 “Virtual Annual Dinner” on Friday October 16, 2020, with special guest Dennis Prager – one of America’s most well-known and respected conservative talk show hosts and writers.

This exclusive, invitation-only event will be streamed live online and will feature critical insights from Dennis Prager about America’s future as we sit on the precipice of the 2020 elections. 

Click here to get your tickets today!



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