Arizona Charter Schools: A Vision for the Next 20 YearsPosted on May 22, 2013 | Type: Policy Report | Author: Jonathan Butcher
Over the past 20 years, Arizona teachers, parents, and community leaders have created more than 500 charter schools—independent, tuition-free public schools that operate with fewer regulations in exchange for higher levels of transparency. Some of these schools are among the highest-achieving schools in the nation, with their students routinely topping nationwide comparisons.
States Can Fix the National Debt: Reforming Washington with the Compact for America Balanced Budget AmendmentPosted on April 23, 2013 | Type: Policy Report | Author: Nick Dranias
The Compact for America proposes that state legislatures use an interstate compact, which is a cooperative agreement among the states, to advance a Balanced Budget Amendment. 26 state legislatures would be required to cosign on the federal government’s credit card. But unlike the status quo of national debt brinkmanship, the BBA is designed to force Washington to prepare a budget to make the case for more debt long before the midnight hour arrives. It requires the president to start designating spending cuts when spending exceeds 98 percent of the debt limit. If Congress disagrees with the cuts, it must then override those cuts within 30 days. By forcing both the executive and legislative branches to show their cards long in advance of hitting a constitutional debt limit, the BBA would ensure no game of “chicken” can hold the country’s credit rating hostage.
No More Rainy Days: How to Make State Revenue Estimates More AccuratePosted on April 09, 2013 | Type: Policy Report | Author: Byron Schlomach
Revenue forecasts matter for planning and policy purposes. When revenues are underestimated, surpluses encourage government growth and swings in tax policy that might be ill-conceived. When revenues are overestimated, governments typically resort to financially damaging gimmicks, debt, and raids on reserves, just delaying the politically disruptive controversy that comes with prioritizing less spending. By not confronting reality, states can be led to impose otherwise unnecessary and ill-conceived tax increases.
A Parent’s Guide to School Choice: Education Options for Arizona FamiliesPosted on March 11, 2013 | Type: Policy Report | Author: Jonathan Butcher
From tax-credits to fund tuition scholarships to charter schools to the revolutionary education savings account program, Arizona is the national leader in school choice; the state has a broader range of school options than anywhere else in the country. Unfortunately, many families simply don’t know how to take advantage of these opportunities. 87,000 Arizona children, or almost ten percent, are languishing in failing schools. It is clear that more needs to be done to increase the involvement of parents in choosing the best education option for their children.
Airing Out the Smoke-filled Rooms: Bringing Transparency to Public Union Collective BargainingPosted on January 17, 2013 | Type: Policy Report | Author: Nick Dranias
When total secrecy in negotiations is combined with laws forcing government employers to engage in collective bargaining—often euphemistically called “meet and confer”—government unions are free to deploy maximum leverage in negotiations—consisting of political pressure and monopoly power—while hiding from any meaningful oversight. It is no wonder that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has most recently reported that state and local government employees make nearly 43 percent more per hour on average in total compensation than private sector workers. Even when controlling for similar occupations and skills, Arizona pays its employees average hourly total compensation that is nearly 20 percent more than what is paid to private sector workers.