Saturday, November 29, 2008

AZ Right to Life wants YOU as a chapter leader

Arizona Right to Life is looking for volunteers to head up smaller regional chapters, such as subsections of cities and towns in Arizona. If interested, please contact me at We have a meeting coming up on Dec. 13, Sat. morning that we'd like anyone interested to attend. If you've ever wanted to get involved hands-on with one of the most noble causes, saving babies' lives, this is a great opportunity. In consideration of the new administration and its stated policies toward life issues we need you now more than ever to help us preserve, protect and promote the sanctity of all innocent human the voice for the voiceless.

Join the AZ Right to Life Facebook group!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Goldwater Institute annual Legislative Report Card is out

Individual Freedom, Limited Government Showing Signs of Life at State Capitol

Goldwater Institute Report Card Reveals Slight Shift Toward Principles of Liberty

Today the Goldwater Institute released its sixth annual Legislative Report Card, which scores Arizona lawmakers on 237 votes cast this year. The Report Card's goal is to determine whether or not lawmakers adhere to the principles of limited government set forth in the U.S. and Arizona Constitutions.

For the sixth year, the highest scoring senator was Ron Gould of Lake Havasu City. The highest scoring representative was Andy Biggs of Gilbert. The average grade in both chambers this year was a C-, a slight improvement over last year, when the average grade was a D.

"The Arizona Constitution strictly enumerates the legislature's proper purview and the legislative Report Card blows the whistle on those who go out of bounds," said Goldwater Institute President and CEO Darcy Olsen.

For the first time in the Report Card's history, legislative district 22 did not have the highest district average. That honor went to district 3, represented by Senator Ron Gould and Representatives Nancy McClain and Trish Groe. District 3 had an average score of 75 percent. District 22 ranked second with a score of 72 percent.

The Goldwater Institute's Legislative Report Card is the most comprehensive analysis of legislative activity issued in the state. This year it scored legislators on 237 votes in the areas of education, constitutional government, regulation, and tax and budget. Scores were tabulated into final percentages and given a letter grade.

You can read the Legislative Report Card by clicking here. Visitors to can look up a lawmaker's score by last name, district or zip code.

The Goldwater Institute is a nonprofit public policy research and litigation organization whose work is made possible by the generosity of its supporters.

Goldwater Institute: AZ should just say 'no' to bailout bucks

By Steve Voeller

Despite the lineup at the trough in D.C. for bags of bailout dollars, I urge Gov. Janet Napolitano to resist seeking more federal tax money to help address Arizona's budget crisis. And I wrote her a letter telling her just that.

Gov. Napolitano testified on Nov. 13 at the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health in support of federal assistance to states that face serious budget troubles. The governor characterized the federal assistance as a fiscal stimulus package that would provide a "win-win-win" for taxpayers.

The unfortunate news here is that there are no free lunches and there are no "win-win-wins." If there were, the financial meltdown would be over, states would be brimming with cash, and we would be thanking the Tooth Fairy for a job well done.

Governor, the federal government is broke and is in no position to take on more risk, let alone provide bailout resources for anyone. And although many states are faced with obese budget deficits, the answer is not more food, but a strict diet.

In her testimony, Gov. Napolitano said that "States do not have easy options in front of them." But politicians need to understand that voters don't expect their jobs to be easy. Voters want real solutions to real problems. We elect-and expect-our leaders to make these tough decisions.

Steve Voeller is president of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance policies that promote a strong and vibrant Arizona economy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

County Attorney appealing ruling that could release some sex offenders from lifetime

Decision could impact up to 300 sex offenders in Maricopa County

County Attorney Andrew Thomas is asking the Arizona Supreme Court to reconsider a decision that revokes lifetime probation for those convicted of preparatory sex crimes such as Attempted Child Molestation that occurred between January 1, 1994 and July 20, 1997. The court recently ruled (State v. Peek, 2008 WL 4762977) that a defendant was improperly sentenced to lifetime probation because the state statutes at the time were not specific enough.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has taken an interest in the case because there are currently 300 sex offenders on lifetime probation in this county that could potentially be affected by the ruling. Additionally, this ruling could release sex offenders who are in prison for violating the terms of their probation.

The office has filed a Motion for Reconsideration which states Arizona lawmakers intended to allow defendants convicted of preparatory sex crimes between 1994 and 1997 to be placed on lifetime probation. The motion states in part:

“When courts construe a statute, the primary goal is to fulfill the intent of the legislature that wrote it. Reviewing courts must consider the statutory scheme as a whole. The court must give meaning to every word, phrase, clause and sentence of the statute and presume the legislature does not include provisions that are void, inert, trivial, superfluous, or contradictory. ”

If the Arizona Supreme Court rejects the motion, the County Attorney’s Office is asking that the high court set some ground rules and clarify that this ruling is limited only to defendants who have properly presented a timely petition for post conviction relief.

While on lifetime probation most sex offenders are subject to terms that include no contact with anyone under 18, no contact with victims, and a prohibition against going near locations primarily used by children such as schools and daycare centers. This ruling could end those terms for dozens of defendants.

Thomas stated, “I respectfully ask the Arizona Supreme Court to reconsider its decision and look again at the original intent of state lawmakers.”

Most Consider The Web Most Reliable Source of News

A Zogby Poll, commissioned by IFC, found 37.6% of those asked consider the Internets the most reliable source of news. 20.3% consider national TV news most reliable and 16% say radio is the most reliable source.

Also revealed:

• 39.3% of those surveyed trust FOX News most for the issues they consider most important, followed by CNN with 16% and MSNBC with 15%.

Read the rest

Goldwater Institute: Obama deserves a scarlet "H" for hypocrisy

by Clint Bolick

In choosing a new school for their daughters, the Obamas did what any good parents should do: they chose the very best they could find. The girls will attend Sidwell Friends, an expensive and exclusive private school that counts Chelsea Clinton among its alumni.

Trouble is Barack Obama would deny the power to choose the best possible schools to parents of lesser means.

During the campaign, Obama stated that school choice doesn't work. If he believes that, why not simply send the girls to whatever school the District of Columbia bureaucracy happens to assign them to?

The answer is obvious: As a parent, Obama knows that school choice does work. And studies show it especially works for low-income families, not only expanding precious educational opportunities for children in failing schools but also boosting performance of low-performing public schools by forcing them to compete for students and dollars.

Obama claims to support public charter schools, which are abundant in the nation's capital. But Obama's actions prove that sometimes public school options just aren't, as his spokesperson put it, the "best fit" for particular children.

Obama also charged that school choice results in a "huge drain of resources out of the public schools." By their choice, the Obamas will "drain" between $200,000 and $400,000 from the D.C. public schools if they occupy the White House for eight years. But the Obamas concluded that their kids, not the system, should come first, and of course they're right.

Rep. Polly Williams, the Wisconsin legislator who gave birth to the Milwaukee school choice program, once quipped that the president "shouldn't be the only person who lives in public housing who gets to send his kids to private schools." No one should begrudge the Obamas their choice. But nor should the president deny such choices to children in D.C. and elsewhere who desperately need them.

Clint Bolick is the director of the Goldwater Institute Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation.

Governor Napolitano Receives a Mixed Rating from Arizona Small Businesses

The O'Neil Associations / ASBA Economic Indicators Monitor asked 3,000 small businesses across the state to rate Governor Janet Napolitano as being either "pro" or "anti" business. A plurality (39%) rated her performance as "pro-business." On the other hand, this figure exceeded the proportion who rated her performance in office as "anti-business" (31%) by only 8%. The residual 31% said "neither."


The results are taken from the Q3 O'Neil Associates/ASBA Arizona Economic Indicators Monitor This project provides insights to support business leaders in companies of all sizes to make key economic decisions, as well as sharing small business attitudes on major political issues. O'Neil Associates, a national public opinion research firm based in Tempe, sent surveys to ASBA's membership of 3,000 small businesses across the state as it did at the end of Q1 and Q2 2008. The survey covered a wide range of economic issues, including business performance, revenue and job growth, and overall business confidence ratings. Results provide insights into the perceptions of business owners on the economic health and vitality of the Arizona economy. The survey has a margin of error (at the 95% confidence level) of approximately +/-6%.

Results of this survey may be cited freely with the proviso that they be cited as the "O'Neil Associates/ASBA Arizona Economic Indicators Monitor"

The O'Neil Associates/ASBA Arizona Economic Indicators Monitor is made possible by a cooperative effort of

O'Neil Associates, a national public opinion research firm based in Tempe, has done over 1700 public opinion and marketing research projects since 1981. These include surveys and focus group projects for a wide array of businesses throughout the country.

ASBA, the Arizona Small Business Association, is the leading voice for small businesses in the State of Arizona.

For a complete copy of all O'Neil Associates/ASBA Arizona Economic Indicators Monitor reports released to date, as well as opinion research reports on an array of other topics visit or click on the banner below.
Arizona Economic Indicators Monitor

O'Neil Perspective

Visit or click the icon above to read Mike O'Neil's political blog.

Goldwater Institute: Serious Reform = Student Success

By Matthew Ladner, Ph.D.

Education reforms DO make a difference.

A prominent Arizona policymaker asked me to compare Arizona and Florida's NAEP scores for non-English language learning students and the results are in. It's clear that taking a combination of new approaches has paid big dividends in the Sunshine State. And given the comparable numbers of non-ELL students in Arizona, it begs the question: Why have Florida student scores skyrocketed while Arizona's remain stagnant?

Notice in the chart above that Arizona and Florida had precisely the same percentage of non-English language learners scoring "Basic" or above in 1998. Over the past decade, Florida improved their percentage of students scoring "Basic" or better by 33 percent, while Arizona only improved by 14.8 percent between 1998 and 2003-and holding steady.

When you look at reading achievement, the story becomes even more lopsided. The number of non-ELL students scoring "Proficient" increased by 16.6 percent in Arizona, but by 52 percent in Florida. The percentage of students scoring "Advanced" in Arizona did not advance at all, but it increased by 100 percent in Florida.

So what gives? Both Florida and Arizona have expanded parental choice, but Florida did more. Both states instituted testing, but Arizona officials made their test easier to pass, while Florida stuck to their guns. Florida opened the gates to alternative teacher certification, Arizona did not. Florida moved to curtail social promotion in the early grades, Arizona did not.

I could go on, but the important point is this: If Arizona wants to make real gains in student performance it's critical that we get serious about implementing education reform. It can be done. Just look at Florida.

Dr. Matthew Ladner is vice president of research at the Goldwater Institute.

Family hot-air balloon rides, conservative policy summit on Sat, Dec 6th

The following is from Roy Miller. I will be giving a presentation on blogging during the new media/blogging session from 1-2:30.

As the Phoenix chapter leader of Americans for Prosperity, I would like to invite you to join me in attending the Defending the American Dream Summit, hosted by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 6th. The Summit will be held at the Shriner Auditorium, at 202 and 40th Street in Phoenix, and the balloon launch will take place in the vacant lot adjacent to the Shriner facility.
Please REGISTER TODAY by going to this website:
The Summit’s headline speakers are Reagan biographer Dinesh D’Souza, Wall Street Journal columnist Steve Moore, and national taxpayer champion Grover Norquist.
The Summit will also feature great policy speakers from here in Arizona, including: Senator Ron Gould, a three-time AFP Hero of the Taxpayer; Clint Bolick from the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation; Len20Gilroy from the Reason Foundation; Michael Kelly of the Arizona School Choice Trust; Matt Ladner from the Goldwater Institute’s education policy center; and, Jen Perkins from the Arizona chapter of the Institute for Justice.
And, if that were not enough, AFP is allowing families to make free tethered ascents in its Cost of Hot Air balloon, which is designed to focus public attention on the gigantic costs that will result from global warming alarmism.
Check out this picture of the balloon:
If you have any questions about the Summit, contact AFP Arizona director Tom Jenney: or (602) 478-0146 or me.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

You can Put Lipstick on a Pig but it still is a Pig

Great expose on the City of Phoenix's wasteful spending such as its $90 million subsidy to the private developer of the luxury mall CityNorth, then its nerve to ask the feds for a bailout.

Goldwater Institute: State Budget Deficit So Big Governor Asks for Public's Help

Goldwater Institute responds with 100 Ideas for 100 Days

Phoenix--Arizona's budget deficit keeps growing with each passing day and money-saving ideas are needed now more than ever. Last month Governor Napolitano went so far as to set up a website to solicit ideas from the public on how the state can save money. The Goldwater Institute is answering the call with "100 Ideas for 100 Days."

As it does every year, 100 Ideas provides one idea for each of the 100 days the legislature is supposed to be in session (and 27 more this year for good measure). Each idea aims to help lawmakers follow the Arizona Constitution's admonition that the purpose of government is to protect and maintain individual rights. This year the Goldwater Institute also highlighted money-saving ideas that can help legislators balance the budget.

"The billion-dollar deficit is a serious but surmountable problem," said Darcy Olsen, president and CEO of the Goldwater Institute. "With the straight-forward ideas found in 100 Ideas for 100 Days, lawmakers can get spending under control and eliminate the deficit."

Take idea number 49: Stop adding to Arizona's mounting state debt by passing a one-year moratorium on new school construction. Or number 54: Eliminate the Arizona Department of Racing and State Boxing Commission allowing self-regulation in those sports. These are just two examples of the ideas found in "100 Ideas for 100 Days" that can help get Arizona's budget back in the black.

Click here to read "100 Ideas for 100 Days," or call (602) 462-5000 to have a copy mailed to you.

The Goldwater Institute is a nonprofit public policy research and litigation organization whose work is made possible by the generosity of its supporters.

Goldwater Institute: Out of the NCLB frying pan

by Matthew Ladner, Ph.D.

Last year former Deputy Secretary of Education Gene Hickok and I wrote a study for the Heritage Foundation critical of No Child Left Behind's requirement that 100 percent of students pass their required state test by 2014 or lose funds.

Our concern is that states, like Arizona, have dummied down their tests to meet the requirement instead of improving student learning.

Some have suggested, however, that NCLB's "Safe Harbor" provision will prevent the impending 2014 train wreck. Safe Harbor gives schools a pass on meeting the required Adequate Yearly Progress standards as long as schools reduce the number of children scoring "below proficient" by 10 percent each year.

To see how plausible this might be, I looked at the last six years of fourth grade reading and math data from Florida's 67 school districts. Even though the NAEP shows that Florida has been making solid progress on both subjects, Florida's schools failed to make Safe Harbor 71 percent of the time.

Last year, U.S. Senators John Cornyn (TX) and Jim DeMint (SC) proposed an amendment to allow states to develop their own academic improvement strategy. The bill, the A Plus Act, would allow each state to come up with an agreement with the federal government for its own system for judging public school performance.

Now would be a good time to see all Arizona congressional representatives consider the concept seriously.

Dr. Matthew Ladner is vice president of research at the Goldwater Institute.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bill of Rights Day at Wrigley Mansion - Dec. 15

Celebrate Bill of Rights Day at The Wrigley Mansion!

National event at historic Phoenix landmark, Mon. eve., Dec. 15

Monday, Dec. 15, 2008, 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
The Wrigley Mansion
2501 E. Telawa Trail; Phoenix, AZ

You MUST RSVP to attend.
Double click to RSVP:
**Please indicate if additional guests will be joining you
(If link doesn't work for you, reply to:

Spend a little time enjoying what makes America great, and celebrate your rights. Join people nationwide who will break bread with their neighbors, and as a group read the Bill of Rights, on the day it was ratified in 1791.

This year we have the distinct honor of holding the Phoenix event at one of the most spectacular sites in the state -- the exquisite Wrigley Mansion.

We will read the original Bill of Rights out loud from a parchment copy, and then jointly discuss its health in town-hall style. Is it working? Are our rights intact? What are the threats to the precious rights we hold dear? What are the prospects for the future?

This is the sixth year in a row that Arizonans have gathered to recognize and honor one of the most important documents ever created. Join us.

You will remember this experience for a long time to come.

The Wrigley Mansion is honored and delighted to provide the use of its Garden Terrace Room for this special event.

"Resort casual" or business attire (no jeans or shorts please)

5:30 p.m.
Doors open, mix and mingle
Self-guided tours of the Mansion (built from 1929 to 1931),
may be available depending on their schedule.

Cash bar, and an enticing spread of light appetizers

6:30 p.m.
Call to order
Welcome and speechifying
Remarks by "Patrick Henry" (portrayed by Dr. Lance Hurley)

7:00 p.m.
Solemn reading of the Bill of Rights, from a parchment copy
Roundtable discussion of its health, and prospects for the future
Time to network and chat, bar remains open

8:30 p.m.
Event concludes

By special arrangement, attendance is only $15, payable at the door.
Students with ID $10.
If you've never been to Wrigley Mansion,
don't miss this chance. It is amazing.

This is a golden opportunity to visit a magnificent Phoenix landmark,
while celebrating a tradition that changed planet Earth.

You MUST RSVP to attend.
Space is limited.

Double click to RSVP:
**Please indicate if additional guests will be joining you
(If link doesn't work for you, reply to:

Respond no later than 12/12/08!
Seating is limited, don't delay!

Special passes for news media personnel contact Jill Johnson, 602-553-7382.


Use the website to get detailed directions and map.
The Mansion is tucked away on a secluded hilltop in central Phoenix:

From 24th St., head E. on Arizona Biltmore Circle (which is 1/2 mi. S. of Lincoln Dr. or just over 1 mi. N. of Camelback Rd.); Take the second right turn into the National Bank of Arizona parking lot. Continue past the bank and over the white canal bridge.

Parking choices -- Once you're over the small bridge: 1 - turn right to the free lower lot OR; 2 - turn left, then right into the free middle lot OR; 3 - turn left then make the second right and drive up to the Mansion.

The Garden Terrace Room is halfway up the hill, look for the red tile reception area on your left. Valet parking is there for $5. For a spectacular view, drive to the top cul-de-sac, and then head back down to the Valet or lots. Note -- You may find it a bit bewildering, as most hilltop mansions are, have faith, you'll arrive.

Are you already occupied or too far away to join us? Hold your own luncheon! Gather with friends on Mon., Dec. 15, morning noon or night, and read the Bill of Rights -- aloud. It's a magical moment, as the words sing out. Take time in your busy schedule to enjoy this reflective pause, and recount the tremendous values these freedoms have brought to you, your family and the world. Honor your American heritage, help set an example for the planet. "All of the Bill of Rights for all of the people."

Double click to RSVP:
**Please indicate if additional guests will be joining you
(If link doesn't work for you, reply to:

Contact: Alan Korwin 602-996-4020;

Goldwater Institute: CityNorth opening not grand for taxpayers

by Carrie Ann Sitren

Today is the Grand Opening of a development that took nearly $100 million from Phoenix taxpayers to be built. There, you are encouraged to "explore inspiring art galleries, refreshing landscaped parks and cascading fountains." You'll enjoy "entertainment in live-performance spaces . . . each step will be a journey of discovery."

But it's not a new art museum, park, or theater. In fact, the Children's Museum of Art, Phoenix Central Library, and even the 20-story City Hall building were all constructed for a fraction of the cost of this mammoth attraction. This tax beneficiary is a private, luxury shopping mall.

"CityNorth," located in north Phoenix, features "fashion-forward designer boutiques," and "bistro and sidewalk café's" - all, of course, to make a profit. Given today's economy, many taxpayers won't even be able to afford to shop at this high-end retail center. Why are they being forced to subsidize it?

The reason lies in city bidding wars. The city that offers the biggest payout gets to reap the sales taxes that big shopping centers bring in. Gilbert won a 17-dealer auto complex at a cost of $60 million, and the Scottsdale city council offered Wal-Mart and other big-box stores $36.7 million to build there.

Gilbert Mayor Steve Berman later regretted the handout, stating, "We shouldn't have taxpayer-funded turf wars between cities", and Scottsdale voters referred their city's subsidy to the ballot and stopped the deal.

In Phoenix, it will take a state court to reverse the flow of funds to CityNorth. The Arizona Court of Appeals will hear arguments by the Goldwater Institute on November 25 that the mall subsidy violates the Arizona Constitution's Gift Clause, Special Law Clause, and Equal Privileges and Immunities Clause.

With a price tag of nearly $100 million in taxpayer dollars, Phoenicians may not find this mall's opening grand at all.

Carrie Ann Sitren is an attorney with the Goldwater Institute Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation.

Goldwater Institute: Impose fiscal discipline with independent budget analysis

By Byron Schlomach, Ph.D.

With election fever behind us, the cold light of reality has dawned and the state's fiscal outlook is being realistically assessed. Governor Napolitano has acknowledged that this year's budget shortfall is at least $1.2 billion.

Just a month ago, Governor Napolitano stated that a shortfall of $800 million for the 2009 budget was a "pessimistic" scenario, despite a legislative briefing at the time showing the shortfall could be $1 billion or more.

Remember that within a month of the legislature enacting the budget in 2007, everyone in state government leadership knew there was a shortfall. As evidence mounted that the problem was serious and getting worse, no special session was called and a revised budget for FY 2008 was not passed until late in the 2008 session, only a few months before that fiscal year ended.

The revised budget for 2008 maintained the governor's rosy picture. Ultimately, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee's $100 million larger shortfall estimate was confirmed when the state had to withdraw an additional $99 million from the rainy day fund to balance the books.

The last two years have made it abundantly clear that the budget process needs reform. The legislature should consider adopting a law requiring an independent revenue estimate from the State Treasurer or another independent agency, like the auditor general, that the governor and legislature must use for their budgeting purposes.

Byron Schlomach, Ph.D, is director of economic policy at the Goldwater Institute.

Harper to speak to PAChyderm about running for Secretary of State

PAChyderm Coalition MO


Wednesday November 19, 2008

Our Guest Speaker

State Senator Jack Harper

will speak about his exploratory committee

for Secretary of State

Update on the PAChyderm Coalition Impact during the current elections.

Report on the Southern Chapter of the PAChyderm Coalition.

Our newly elected officials have been invited to attend.

Please remember we will be back at:

El Paso Bar-B-Que

4303 West Peoria Ave

(Southwest Corner of 43rd Ave & Peoria)

Dinner at 6:15 – Order off the Menu

Meeting begins at 7:00 PM

Monday, November 17, 2008

Newspapers in crisis

Good article in Pajamas Media about what we already know -

The daily newspaper industry stands at a precipice. Rocked by declining print circulation and advertising, disruptive Internet technologies and competition from a variety of new players and industries, the traditional bedrock of American journalism faces a classic change-or-die scenario. Whole swaths of the American populace have abandoned newspapers or are growing up without the habit of reading them. And while the Web sites of news organizations are attracting more readers than ever, the online advertising business is nowhere close to making up for the steep slide in print.

Read more

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Goldwater Institute: Obama’s school choice hypocrisy

by Dan Lips

President-elect Barack Obama belongs to a growing club of elected officials who oppose school vouchers for poor families while sending their own children to private school.

In the final presidential debate, the Illinois senator criticized Sen. John McCain's plan to award tuition scholarships to low-income families living in Washington, D.C. He said the same to the American Federation of Teachers this summer: "What I do oppose is spending public money for private school vouchers. We need to focus on fixing and improving our public schools, not throwing our hands up and walking away from them."

But Obama did walk away from public schools when the time came to enroll his own daughters. He enrolled them in the private University of Chicago lab school, where elementary school tuition costs more than $18,000 per year.

Elected officials often try to demonstrate their support for improving public education by pledging to spend more tax dollars on more programs aimed at fixing schools. But these promises should be of little comfort to poor families who have no choice but to enroll their children in bad public schools today. Furthermore, years of rising school budgets have yielded little improvement in the nation's worst school districts.

President-elect Obama and many of his colleagues understand how important school choice is, at least when it comes to their own children. Do disadvantaged children deserve less?

Dan Lip is a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation and a Goldwater Institute Senior Fellow.

Goldwater Institute Challenges Corporation Commission Rules


Phoenix--The Goldwater Institute Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation today filed a special action in the Arizona Court of Appeals challenging the Arizona Corporation Commission's Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff Rules and the accompanying initial rate surcharges.

The rules lock in energy policy for most of the next two decades, forcing utility companies to provide specific percentages of power from renewable resources regardless of cost or reliability. The Commission estimates that over the life of the rules, the energy will cost $2.4 billion more than conventional energy sources. The first surcharges to utility bills were approved this year.

The Goldwater Institute represents three residential utility customers, Roy Miller, Thomas F. Husband, and Jennifer Bryson, along with Corpus Communications, Inc. The lawsuit alleges that the Corporation Commission exceeded its limited constitutional authority, which is limited to ratemaking. The Legislature, which has taken numerous steps to promote renewable energy, has authority over energy policy.

"This massive power grab will cost Arizona consumers billions of dollars at a time when we cannot afford it," declared Clint Bolick, Goldwater Institute's litigation director.

The Institute filed the action in the Court of Appeals because the case presents urgent legal issues and there are no disputed facts. Previously, the Arizona Supreme Court declined to exercise special-action jurisdiction.

"This lawsuit could not be more important to the real lives of Arizonans, so we hope this court will accept jurisdiction to resolve the issue as quickly as possible," Bolick stated.

The Court of Appeals will decide whether to take the case by December 2. The Court also ordered the Arizona Corporation Commission to respond to the brief by November 24.

For more information, visit

The Goldwater Institute is a nonprofit public policy research and litigation organization whose work is made possible by the generosity of its supporters.

AFP: Will 2009 be a great year for conservatives in Arizona?

2009 could be a great year for conservatives in Arizona. There are at least three good reasons to think so:

1) Thanks to Arizona voters and grassroots activists, the Arizona House and Senate in January will (finally!) have majorities of legislators who either scored very well on last year’s AFP Arizona Legislative Scorecard, or who have pledged to not raise taxes.

2) AFP Arizona has a Reform Arizona plan to reduce the gigantic state deficit, prevent any tax increases, avoid taking on debt that will hurt future taxpayers, and implement reforms to bring government spending under control for the long term. (See below for AFP Arizona’s Reform Arizona Plan.)

3) You are part of a hardworking grassroots movement in Arizona that can accomplish amazing things—IF YOU STAY MOTIVATED AND MOBILIZED. The best way to stay motivated and mobilized on fiscal policy issues is to come to our Defending the American Dream Summit, sponsored by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, on Saturday, December 6th.

Please REGISTER TODAY, if you have not already:

--Chad & Tom, AFP Arizona

Reform Arizona Plan—AFP Arizona’s Top Ten Budget Reforms for 2009

1) Short-Term Budget Reform. The Legislature should send a winter or spring referendum to the voters to get permission to temporarily suspend voter-mandated automatic spending increases during the declared fiscal emergencies in Fiscal Years 2009, 2010, and 2011. (Model bill: HCR 2044 from 2008.)

2) No Tax Increases. Most important: prevent the return of the state equalization property tax. If the Legislature and Governor do nothing, there will be an automatic property tax increase of $100 per household.

3) No Federal Borrowing or General-Obligation Bonding. Those are recipes for long-term, California-style fiscal distress. Federal “help” will come with dangerous policy strings attached.

4) Spending Reductions. Save $1.5 billion by enacting immediate 15% reductions to all government agencies other than law enforcement. 15% reductions will take Arizona back to FY 2007 spending levels, with per-recipient amounts reduced to FY 2005 or FY 2006 amounts. That means a reduction in government benefits to 2005 levels. For the last five years, government has spent money at unrealistic levels, and it is now time to get back to reality. The size of the Napolitano deficit is now over $1,000 per Arizona household. We must not force Arizona taxpayers (now, or in the future) to pay for the cost of the government’s spending problem.

5) Long-Term Budget Reform. Send to the 2010 ballot a referendum changing the personal income spending limit in the AZ Constitution from 7 percent to 6.4 percent (model bill: HCR 2038 from 2008), with two new additions: a taxpayer standing clause for judicial enforcement, and a provision for immediate refund of excess monies to taxpayers. This spending limit is not as stringent as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, but it would keep the government from growing faster than the economy.

6) Local Government Transparency. By 2010, taxpayers should be able to go online and review every disbursement made by every political entity in the state of Arizona. We passed a state-level transparency bill back in June, but we must now ensure that every government in Arizona has open books. (As an example of how opaque local governments are now, Apache County and Youngtown have told us that we need to fill out a FOIA request to read their budgets, even though state law requires them to publish their budgets and property tax levies!)

7) Treasurer Certification of the Arizona Budget. Enact legislation requiring the Arizona Treasurer to certify whether the state budgets are in legal compliance with the constitutional requirement for a balanced budget and with the state spending limit. (A great idea we got from the Goldwater Institute.)

8) Move Forward with School Choice. Every child who leaves a government district school and goes to a charter school or a private school (via scholarship tax credits or choice grants) saves the state money—and greatly improves his or her odds of getting a good education.

9) Increase the Affordability of Private Health Insurance. We must allow Arizona consumers to have access to cheaper insurance plans available in other states. You can buy shoes, automobiles, and life insurance plans produced in other states. Why not health insurance plans?

10) Use Private Financing for Future Statewide Transportation Projects. For Arizona’s transportation infrastructure, the only viable alternative to a massive tax increase (which would mean billions wasted on light rail and other transit boondoggles) is to allow private companies to finance, construct, operate and maintain new road capacity. For privatization in other areas of state government, we should create a Florida-style Council on Efficient Government to identify privatization opportunities and assist government agencies in developing business plans for privatization. (Thanks to the Reason Foundation for suggesting this idea to us.)

Chad Kirkpatrick, Arizona Chairman

Tom Jenney, Arizona Director

Americans for Prosperity

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Local blogger heading up SW #dontgo movement - response to

The guys at Voice of Liberty Podcast will be heading up the southwest portion of #dontgo, the right's new equivalent to You think the right isn't as adept technically as the left when it comes to internet technology? Not true. If you'd like to work for the movement, click here. They're looking for people to help with several positions. Although they're voluntary, the longterm networking benefits will make them worth it if you have the time.

Goldwater Institute: Rumors of Conservatism's demise have been greatly exaggerated

by Darcy Olsen

In the aftermath of the 1964 presidential election, the American media was quick to interpret Lyndon Johnson's landslide victory as not just a defeat for Barry Goldwater, but as the end of a movement.

"Barry Goldwater not only lost the presidential election yesterday," New York Times Washington Bureau Chief James Reston declared, "but the conservative cause as well."

We should not be surprised to read similar stories today. Even before the election, news outlets were publishing articles declaring R.I.P. Reagan Revolution, The End of the Reagan Era, and even, The End of Conservatism as we Know It.

Whoa Nellie! Many candidates faced tough elections this year, not because they stood for limited government and fiscal responsibility, but because once in government, they abandoned the very principles they professed to believe in.

The press, however, may neglect this fact in favor of a narrative suggesting the American people have repudiated the free enterprise system and embraced big government.

This narrative will get plenty of airtime, but history suggests that a different lesson may be in order. Two years after Reston's declaration that the conservative cause was lost, America elected two dozen new Congressmen and ten new Governors on limited government platforms- and a Goldwater man named Ronald Reagan was elected Governor of California. Reston, so it seems, had got it wrong.

Commentators who suggest this year's election results mark the death of limited government principles are as wrong today as Reston was in 1964.

In this election, voters overwhelmingly rejected what they viewed as the big-government conservatism of the Bush administration in hopes of putting an end to a dismal era. While Senator McCain may have lost this race, the first principles of conservatism remain deeply held in the hearts of the American people and their time will come again.

Darcy Olsen is President & CEO of the Goldwater Institute. A longer version of this email appeared in the Arizona Republic and can be viewed here.