A Recipe for Corruption

Posted on March 22, 2003 | Type: Op-Ed | Author: Satya Thallam
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Corporation Commissioner Jim Irvin is in the hot seat with the threat of impeachment in the air, but lawmakers are missing the opportunity to address the root of the problem - the commission itself.

While Irvin stands accused of interfering with a Valley utility company acquisition, the commission regularly impedes commerce, maintains monopolies and doles out protective subsidies to favored groups at the expense of Arizona residents.

Of course, the commission's operations are all legal under the Arizona Constitution.

The Corporation Commission acts as a quasi-fourth branch of government, but with the authority of all three rolled into one.

It was only a matter of time until one of its chiefs was accused of overstepping his bounds. The commission's unbridled discretion to pass laws, administer and enforce them, and to serve as its own judge, is a recipe for corruption.

The commission does nothing more than maintain outdated and inefficient government controls that were established nearly a century ago. Its dissolution would liberalize competition in utility and other markets, drive prices down and save more than $20 million in the state budget.

Satya Thallam

The writer is a fiscal policy researcher with the Goldwater Institute.

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