Government Accountability

Back-room deals and closed doors are not the stuff of free governments. Our work is making governments more transparent and accountable to citizens.

<p>Back-room deals and closed doors are not the stuff of free governments. Our work is making governments more transparent and accountable to citizens.</p>

Should citizens foot the bill for lobbyists? One think tank says no.

The publics will and right to petition the government is being trampled by the growing number of taxpayer-funded government lobbyists, according to a new report issued by the Goldwater Institute.

A proposed hair-braiding business is being used as an example of how government regulation can impede business start-ups in Arizona.

The Institute for Justice Arizona filed a lawsuit this week against the Arizona Board of Cosmetology on behalf of Essence Farmer, a 23-year-old who wants to start a braiding salon but can't because she needs to obtain an occupational cosmetology license.

Are they a bunch of losers or what? Voters are sure to wonder after taking a look at the Goldwater Institute's 2003 Legislative Report Card. (See on opposite page.)

None of the 15 members of the Tucson delegation scored higher than a C+ and 11 got F's. Although the Legislature scored poorly as a whole-with both the House and Senate scoring under 50 percent-Tucson lawmakers had some of the lowest grades in the state.

Don't jump to the conclusion, however, that Tucson could use a good legislative housecleaning.

Goldwater Institute says two vote against individual liberties

A conservative think tank says some of Tempe's state legislators aren't making the grade.

A recent legislative report card released by the Goldwater Institute gave the Arizona Senate an average ranking of D+ and the House of Representatives an average ranking of D.

Two Tempe Democrats were on the lists of the five lowest-ranking ranking senators and representatives. Sen. Harry Mitchell received an F ranking, and Rep. Meg Burton Cahill received an F-.

Republican legislative leaders earned only marginal marks, and no Democrat received higher than a D-grade, from the Goldwater Institute in its analysis of 191 votes during the 2003 Arizona legislative session.

Not surprisingly, the fiscally and economically conservative Goldwater think tank gave the highest marks on its 2003 legislative scorecard to fiscal hawks such as state Sens. Thayer Verschoor and Jack Harper and House Majority Leader Eddie Farnsworth.

Compare the candidates

The Star's election reporters Rhonda Bodfield and Hipolito R. Corella have done a six-day series to examine the candidates and their stances on issues in the gubernatorial and congressional races.

For a time, it didn't seem that Arizona leaders had to worry too much about economic development.

The state saw unprecedented growth and job expansion. Budget surpluses were the norm.

P.J. O' Rourke pokes fun at terrorists, U.S. government

Beef and sacred cows arrived equally skewered at the [Phoenix-based] Goldwater Institute's luncheon Thursday as political satirist P.J. O'Rourke flayed terrorists, pork barrel spending and the World War II generation.

The best-selling author's discussion at the Ritz-Carlton Phoenix launched the conservative think tank's speaker series. About 250 people attended the event.

"He's well-loved, even by people who don't love him," said Darcy Olsen, executive director of the Goldwater Institute.

PHOENIX – The Goldwater Institute’s annual Legislative Report Card was released today, taking into account 375 votes during the first session of Arizona’s fiftieth legislature.

Now in its ninth year, the report card is a citizen-friendly tool for evaluating state legislators’ votes and their impact on individual liberty.

In his blog Ideas, Santa Clara University economist David Friedman (yes, he's Milton's son) wrote about the cost of eyeglasses. He was curious why a new frame and set of lenses costs less than $10 online, but five times that amount or more at most stores.

A few weeks ago, the Phoenix City Council agreed to give Thomas J. Klutznick Co.­ $100 million for building a high-end shopping center. Backers of the deal say failure to subsidize retail would send developers to other cities or to Arizona's Indian reservations.

With a total sales tax of 8.1 percent, Phoenix has the highest sales tax rate of competitor cities. It may very well be true that Phoenix is losing business to neighboring cities. Poor tax policy has that effect.