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City & Local Reform

There are almost 90,000 local governments in America, with an average of one new local government born every day. Many are unaccountable to taxpayers and special interest-driven, and the Goldwater Institute’s “New Charter for American Cities” gives citizens the tools they need to fight City Hall and hold their local governments accountable.

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  • Phoenix and Tucson Try to Skirt Election Law

    Posted on April 18, 2013 | Type: Blog | Author: Taylor Earl

    Like most states across the country, Arizona has long suffered from abysmally low voter turnout in local elections. In the state’s two largest cities – Phoenix and Tucson – voter turnout rates for the most recent local candidate elections hovered at a mere 30 percent.

  • Arizona Appeals Court Says Government Must Respect Voters

    Posted on March 13, 2013 | Type: Blog | Author: Christina Sandefur

    In a recent unanimous decision, the Arizona Court of Appeals held that school districts can't spend bond money on unapproved purposes when voters authorized that money for specific projects. This decision protects the state constitutionally-guaranteed rights of taxpayers and ensures that governments can't renege on their bond agreements with the voters.

  • Keeping Emergency Measures Limited to Emergency Situations

    Posted on October 18, 2012 | Type: Blog | Author: Carrie Ann Sitren

    Busted sewer lines, leaky roofs, and debris in the road are all emergencies. Apartment complexes have hotlines for emergency maintenance, which residents can call even on a Sunday afternoon or in the middle of the night. Cities have a process for emergencies too. Councilmembers can convene on short notice and approve urgent action, and the normal city rules for getting competitive bids and providing public notice of a hearing are waived. For public emergencies, whatever action a government takes is effective immediately because there is no time to wait 30 days for citizens to take out a referendum on what the council approves.

  • Glendale Busts Its Budget and Plans to Raise Taxes

    Posted on April 23, 2012 | Type: Blog | Author: Carrie Ann Sitren

    How do you close a $35 million budget gap? Perhaps the better question is why that hole was dug in the first place. One answer for the City of Glendale is hockey. In fiscal year 2012, the city added $20 million (up from only $1.2 million the year before) to its operating budget for the Jobing.com Arena, where the Phoenix Coyotes hockey team plays. The NHL has been demanding financial support from the city since 2009, when the team filed for bankruptcy.

  • Debt and Taxes: Arizona Taxpayers on Hook for $66 Billion Tab Run Up by State, Local Governments

    Posted on April 05, 2012 | Type: Investigative Report | Author: Mark Flatten

    State and local governments in Arizona owe more than $66.5 billion in outstanding debt and unfunded obligations, according to official estimates in disclosure reports scattered across various agencies. That figure is based largely on annual reports from government agencies and pension funds that run through June 2011. Numbers that have been updated since have only gotten worse.

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