Back-room deals and closed doors are not the stuff of free governments. Our work is making governments more transparent and accountable to citizens.
Scottsdale's Motor Mile just may be one of the most profitable corners of real estate in Arizona. Featuring luxury cars such as Bentley and Rolls-Royce, its a safe bet most Arizonans probably will spend more time dreaming about cars like these than driving them. So why are taxpayers footing bills for these dealerships? A few years ago, the Scottsdale City Council voted to give $1.5 million to 19 car dealers for an ad campaign to make the area the ultimate car buying destination. I guess 19 car dealerships weren't obvious enough.
This year a ballot initiative is moving to establish a minimum wage in Arizona. The wage would initially be $5.95 an hour and would rise to $6.75 an hour in 2008.
Arizona currently has no state-required minimum wage, but employers are required to comply with the federal minimum wage of $5.15.
It's a safe assumption that most Americans want to reduce poverty and give all workers a chance at the American dream. But a higher minimum wage tends to put the lesser skilled among us out of work.
In 1965, the University of Florida football team faced a potentially devastating enemy-dehydration. University doctors set out to make a drink that would keep the team hydrated and winning. The product they made is now known the world over as Gatorade. Not only did Gatorade energize dehydrated football players, but once licensed to a soft drink company, it reaped handsome profits for the University of Florida and sparked an ongoing race for universities to discover more profitable products.
Seventy years after the end of Prohibition, it is illegal for Arizona consumers to purchase wine directly from out-of-state wineries.
Arizona is one of two dozen states that prohibit the direct shipment of out-of-state wines to in-state consumers. Although the number of nationwide wineries and available wines has increased by over 500 percent over the past 30 years, wholesalers continue to dictate the availability of out-of-state wines to Arizona consumers.
Tucson's legislators scored poorly on the Goldwater Institute's 2003 Legislative Report Card, which grades legislators according to their commitment to free markets, limited government, rule of law, individual liberty, and individual responsibility.
In fact, Tucson Districts 27, 28, and 29 had some of the lowest scores in the state. None of those districts produced a legislator with a score higher than 39 percent, which translates to an "F+" on the Institute's (rather generous) grading scale.
There seems to be plenty of finger-pointing going on, but ultimately, little is being said about the actual reason for the current gas shortage in Phoenix. Everyone seems to be aware that a pipeline broke and we have to wait for federal approval before gas can begin flowing. But, isn't anyone wondering why this problem is confined to the Phoenix metropolitan area?
In the Robert Bolt play, A Man for All Seasons, St. Thomas More is chided for allowing an unsavory character to go unpunished because there is no law against the act in question. In response, More declares that he would give the devil the benefit of law, for his own safety's sake.
When I arrived at the Goldwater Institute more than 10 years ago as 29-year-old political neophyte, I was dispatched by the board of directors to meet with then-Speaker of the House Jane Hull. I was surprised at how happy she was to meet someone she didn't know.
I soon realized she would have been happy to meet anyone who was about to replace the first president of the Goldwater Institute, Michael Sanera. Sanera had proved to be a constant irritant to Speaker Hull and many other public officials.
Tucson's city officials are having second thoughts about building an aquarium as part of the Rio Nuevo downtown development project. Given the shaky financial state of aquariums nationwide, second thoughts are in order.
The aquarium boom has cost more than $1 billion and resulted in many bankruptcies. Now that they've got their thinking caps on, city officials should have another look at Rio Nuevo itself.
Rio Nuevo is an ambitious example of the Downtown Disneyland theory of urban redevelopment.
Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government. - Thomas Jefferson
There are more than 87,000 local governments in the nation (639 of them in Arizona). Therefore, the average voter and even the most dedicated researcher might be forgiven for not knowing what many governments are doing. Without more open government, voters will remain uninformed and government unaccountable.