Fundamental Reform, Not Repackaged Programs, Will Move Arizona Forward

Posted on January 10, 2005 | Type: Press Release
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PHOENIX-In her state-of-the-state address today, Arizona governor Janet Napolitano echoed her 2004 address in calling for nearly 20 new programs and increased spending on existing programs. However, Goldwater Institute analysts explain that new programs and more spending are likely to exacerbate, not solve, Arizona's policy challenges.

Vicki Murray, Ph.D., director of the Goldwater Institute Center for Educational Opportunity commended the Governor's focus on education but noted that her proposal for statewide all-day kindergarten is misguided. "The governor's proposal further centralizes and expands the status quo," said Murray. "The education system needs fundamental reform to improve student achievement." Forthcoming Goldwater Institute research recommends measures for transparency, program impact assessment, and improved flexibility through individual student funding.

Fiscal policy analyst Satya Thallam agreed with Governor Napolitano that tax cuts should be used to "spur Arizona's competitiveness for new jobs," but cautioned that targeting tax breaks to favored companies and industries puts other economic sectors at a disadvantage. "In the hunt for the ever-popular 'knowledge economy,'" Thallam said, "policymakers should keep in mind that a fair and even playing field, not targeted subsidies, will foster the kind of balanced, equitable growth that will benefit all Arizonans."  Thallam also applauded the governor's emphasis on fiscal responsibility and added that pegging spending growth to the rate of population growth has proven to be the most effective means of ensuring fiscal responsibility.

Mark Brnovich, director of the Goldwater Institute Center for Constitutional Government, noted the governor's concern for protecting state lands and the lack of discussion of private lands, which in Arizona are under threat of eminent domain abuse, increasing regulation, and proposed constitutional amendments that restrict how owners can use their property. "Private property is a fundamental right," said Brnovich. "Protecting it should be a priority." Brnovich said he hoped the governor would also elaborate on her vision for creating an independent judiciary and her plans to replace retiring Arizona Supreme Court chief justice Charles Jones.

Goldwater Institute president Darcy Olsen called for solutions that fundamentally address Arizona's challenges. "Arizona's success is testament not to government initiative, but to the people's. Arizona's economy has been driven by the people, assisted by relatively low tax rates. Capping legislative spending, protecting private property, and implementing more school choice are important policies for Arizona's future."

Contact:  Andrea Woodmansee, Director of Communications, Goldwater Institute, (602) 462-5000 x 226, awood@goldwaterinstitute.org

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