September 6, 2018
Goldwater Institute Supports Prop 305
Expansion of Empowerment Scholarship Accounts
The Goldwater Institute has long been at the forefront of promoting school choice in Arizona. From charter schools, to open enrollment, to Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), Arizona has been a national leader in innovative ways of delivering more educational options to students and families. Last year, the Goldwater Institute passed a measure at the Legislature providing for universal ESAs, meaning that all students would have access to the education of their choice, regardless of their family’s income level.
Unfortunately, opponents of families having more options opposed our measure and have referred it to the ballot in the hopes of damaging school choice in Arizona. This despite the fact that survey after survey demonstrates that nearly every Arizona family who uses an ESA is extremely satisfied with the educational result. Other states bear similarly high levels of satisfaction with ESAs.
Sadly, the “status quo crowd” would prefer that students and families have no educational options outside of traditional public schools, even though greater options have never resulted in traditional schools losing funding. Rather, school choice has resulted in much greater educational outcomes across Arizona, which is precisely why it’s important to vote yes on Prop 305.
Goldwater Institute Opposes Prop 127
“Clean Energy” for a Healthy Arizona
The misleadingly titled “Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona” mandate, backed by California billionaire Tom Steyer, would amend the Arizona Constitution to require that utilities derive half of their electricity from renewable sources, such as solar and wind, by 2030. Currently, Arizona utilities operate with a mixture of renewable energy, carbon-free nuclear power, and natural gas. The debate is not about the veracity renewable energy — the real issue is the impact of irresponsibly forcing Arizona’s taxpayers to implement a program that is not fiscally sound.
A recent study conducted by Arizona State University’s Seidman Research Institute yielded concerning consequences if the Clean Energy mandate passes, including massive job and disposable income losses. Another disturbing outcome is the impact on Arizona’s schools. Aside from school districts paying almost double for electricity, they stand to lose tens of millions of dollars in property tax revenues – dollars that otherwise could be used to improve education in Arizona.
Ultimately, of course, Arizona taxpayers would be forced to make up this difference in revenue, with profound negative consequences to the state’s economy. Additionally, rural utilities would be hit particularly hard, with many being forced to shut down due to the high costs and technological changes required by the mandate, potentially leaving many Arizonans without an electricity source.
Arizona must learn from California’s mistakes and reject this ill-conceived initiative. While renewable energy may be a viable option to Arizona’s consumers, that choice should be for the consumers themselves to make. Mandates are not the right path forward.