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Week in Review: Make Good Use of Freedom

July 3, 2021

In April 1777, future President John Adams penned a letter to his wife, Abigail, reflecting on the hardships America was facing in its fight for independence from Great Britain. “Posterity! you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it,” he wrote.

So how do we make good use of freedom?

At In Defense of Liberty, Goldwater Institute President and CEO Victor Riches writes that “Independence Day is a wonderful time to celebrate the freedoms we have—the ability to think what we want, say what we want, and live our lives the way we see fit. But it’s also an important time to reflect on how fragile freedom is—how precious it is.” To be sure, freedom is not a foregone conclusion in America—all around us, we can see examples of how our liberties are under fire, from assaults on our ability to speak freely to the rise of anti-freedom lessons in America’s classrooms.

But the Goldwater Institute is fighting back—and we’re succeeding. Our work is changing Americans’ lives for the better—and as Riches writes, we’re “mak[ing] it possible for more Americans to chart their own course without being guided by the heavy hand of government.” That’s how Goldwater is making good use of freedom: We’re working to ensure we all have the freedom to pursue our American Dream.

You can read more from Riches here—and we wish you a happy, safe, and free Independence Day.

Supreme Court Sides with Free Speech and Donor Privacy

Do you have to give up your privacy to support a cause you believe in? Not anymore.

On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the California Attorney General’s demand that nonprofit advocacy groups—including the Goldwater Institute—turn over confidential information about their donors as the price of exercising the First Amendment freedom of speech. Anti-privacy measures like California’s expose donors to retaliation, harassment, and even violence—and as a result, they have a chilling effect on speech, keeping many from speaking their minds.

Goldwater submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, pointing to a similar case that we’re currently litigating in New Mexico. In Santa Fe, officials punished the small nonprofit Rio Grande Foundation for not disclosing the names of its donors when it posted a video on its Facebook page opposing an initiative to impose a tax on large sodas. The city’s demands that Rio Grande publish its donors’ personal information exposed the organization and its donors to potential intimidation, discouraging people from exercising their free speech rights.

At Goldwater, we’re leading a national effort to defend donor privacy—through both litigation and legislation. In addition to our work on behalf of the Rio Grande Foundation, we’ve drafted free speech legislation such as the 2018 Arizona law that protects the right of nonprofit groups and their donors to express their beliefs without having their privacy taken away. Utah, West Virginia, and Iowa have passed similar laws based on our legislation.

Goldwater Institute Vice President for Litigation Timothy Sandefur has the full story at In Defense of Liberty.

Wall Street Journal: Ducey’s Flat Tax and Arizona’s Future

Arizona was in the national spotlight this week after the state legislature approved the Goldwater Institute’s plan to dramatically reduce income taxes and simplify the state’s tax code, making Arizona one of the lowest-tax states in the country. The Wall Street Journal wrote:

This week Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey will sign a 2.5% flat tax, a moment that will define his legacy. The bill’s passage was worth the political drama and will go far to maintain Arizona’s competitiveness.

Arizona currently taxes income under a progressive rate structure, starting at 2.59% up to 4.5%. The ballot last November carried an initiative to add a 3.5% surtax on earnings above $250,000 for single filers. It narrowly passed, meaning the combined top rate was set to hit 8%, higher than all of Arizona’s neighbors except California. Nevada and Texas have no income tax.

Mr. Ducey’s budget will cut rates for all taxpayers. The Legislature can’t repeal the voter-approved surtax, so above the 2.5% flat rate, there will still be a second bracket on income over $250,000. But the budget also has a provision adjusting the flat tax downward for those Arizonans, so no one will pay a top rate above 4.5%. That’s the same as today...

“Every Arizonan—no matter how much they make—wins with this legislation,” Mr. Ducey said. “It will protect small businesses from a devastating 77 percent tax increase, it ensures working families and all Arizona taxpayers get to spend their money how they choose, and it will help our state stay competitive so we can continue to attract good-paying jobs.” That’s worth celebrating.

Read more on In Defense of Liberty.

ICYMI: Goldwater Webinar Takes on Critical Race Theory

Did you miss Goldwater’s webinar on the damaging effects of Critical Race Theory in America? Now’s your chance to watch it.

Earlier this week, Goldwater Institute Director of Communications Mike Brownfield hosted a live video discussion about the growing use of Critical Race Theory in everyday life from K-12 public schools and university classrooms to employee training seminars and corporate boardrooms. Guest speakers Kevin Jackson and Jonathan Butcher discussed this cultural tipping point and its corrosive impact on public discourse, including how all of us can learn from serious failures of the past while keeping alive the promise of the American Dream.

You can watch the full event above.



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