Back-room deals and closed doors are not the stuff of free governments. Our work is making governments more transparent and accountable to citizens.
The Oscars are still a month away, so here are a few awards to tide you over. Drum roll, please. The winners of the Golden Turkey Award for taxpayer-funded lobbying are the Department of Transportation, Maricopa County, and the City of Tucson. In Arizona, these three government bodies are the top-spenders of tax dollars on lobbyists. And while they may be winners of the Golden Turkey Award, the losers are Arizona taxpayers.
This time of the year, its tradition to deck the halls with boughs of holly. But Maricopa County courts have decked the halls another way with stacks upon stacks of files. Taking a welcome step into the digital age, Maricopa County's judiciary is about to embrace the old adage that less is more. Take court files for example.
Arizonans decided 19 ballot propositions this election, the most of any state. That's a lot of direct democracy. Maybe its time to ask how well its working.
Our states founders wanted the people to have direct access to the ballot. They saw it as a fundamental protection against unresponsive government. But if this process provides an occasionally needed corrective, its not the best way to make law.
Sometimes clichés fit. Take the recent shenanigans at the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for example. The court decided to put Arizona's voter ID law on hold. We can't be sure of the court's reasoning, but the plaintiffs spent a lot of time explaining how grueling it is to secure photo identification. Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill.
An analysis of Legislative Report Card votes in constitutional policy
The Goldwater Institute's 2006 Legislative Report Card shows both chambers scored reasonably well in constitutional government, a B- for the Senate and a C+ for the House. Even so, there were far too many setbacks for liberty.
This fall, Arizonans will have more information than ever about judges. The Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) recently sent questions about judicial philosophy to 50 judges up for reelection. By answering those questions, judges will provide citizens with a clear picture of where they stand on pertinent issues of law and justice.
In the 2006 legislative session there was some good, some bad and some ugly. As the Goldwater Institute's just released Legislative Report Card reveals, in tax and budget policy the Senate scored a collective C and the House an F+.
The good: The legislature followed up last year's business property tax cut with a ten percent drop in personal income tax rates over two years and a three-year suspension of the 42 cent County Equalization property tax. These cuts return millions of dollars to Arizona households.
According to the National Journal, officials at the National Science Foundation and the Department of Education (DOE) are exploring Title IX's applications to specific areas of study, but only in disciplines that will benefit women.
With over 300 days of sunshine a year, we know Arizonans love their sunshine. This week, Americans nationwide celebrate a different kind of sunshine ’" the kind that opens government’s doors and shines the light of liberty on its affairs.
Ordinary citizens can have a difficult time making sense of the political process. The legislature particularly can seem arcane and dense with detail. Voters frequently become apathetic when faced with unraveling a mountain of confusing, competing claims.