Back-room deals and closed doors are not the stuff of free governments. Our work is making governments more transparent and accountable to citizens.
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.
Fifteen percent is the magic number, according to the Arizona Corporation Commission.
The ACC voted this week to require Arizona utilities to produce 15 percent of their energy from "renewable resources." Why 15 percent?
There's nothing magic about 15 percent. In fact, the number is arbitrary and expected to impose $50 million in surcharges on consumers every year.
Arizonans are naturally concerned about resource sustainability. But regulation is a poor approach to sustainability.
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor unquestionably was the most powerful woman in America but she was not the centrist or liberal that many have portrayed her as being.
Though the swing justice in many controversial cases, O'Connor far more often voted with her conservative colleagues than not, particularly in cases pitting state autonomy against federal impositions.
In 1998, the City of Tempe and America West Airlines entered into an agreement to redevelop part of downtown Tempe. The city agreed to convey property to America West for free and then pay America West approximately $15 million over twenty years. In return, America West pledged to develop the property and convey ownership of the improvements back to the city. Tempe agreed to then lease the property back to America West.
Illinois has given us just one more example of how allowing government to reward large contracts to private companies opens the door to corruption and abuse. This week, the state's auditor general issued a report finding that the agency responsible for cutting government waste instead spent lavishly and awarded multimillion-dollar contracts to consultants who might have had an inside track.
In one of his regular email correspondences, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon wrote Friday, "I said that in order to be a GREAT city, THIS city needs to excel in three areas: Education, Public Safety and Jobs."
The mayor's prescription? "This downtown Phoenix Campus of ASU is the catalyst for the first - and the foundation for the other two.
If you want to know why a Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) is a good idea for Arizona, see this Goldwater Institute report released yesterday. In it, you'll find out how TABOR maintains a fiscally responsible limit on the state budget, could have put $4.5 billion back in Arizonans pockets, creates predictable and sustainable budget projections, and shifts power away from budget-siphoning special interests towards voters.
Between 1998 and 2002, there were over 10,000 cases of actual or threatened government takings of private property for purposes of transferring property to other private owners. However, the practice of using local governments as real estate brokers for private developers may be coming to an end.
PHOENIX—On June 14, 2011, the Maricopa County Community College District board will decide whether or not to hike property tax rates on all homeowners by 3 percent. In March, the board agreed to raise tuition and other student fees. With state budget reductions in many areas of government, it isn’t surprising that MCCCD is looking for more revenue. But a Goldwater Institute investigation finds that the district has refused to cut administrative bloat or to implement recommendations that could save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars each year.
Randolph Lumm, the president of the elected governing board that oversees Maricopa County’s 10 community colleges, was concerned about administrative bloat. So he sheepishly asked the district’s chief administrator, Chancellor Rufus Glasper, for an explanation.
Lumm prefaced his email with praise.
“I think you’re doing a great job as Chancellor,” the board president wrote in the opening sentence of the message he sent in December 2010. “I want to be supportive and I still want to be able to express concerns when I have them.”