In a major victory for Phoenix taxpayers, an Arizona judge has ruled that the city’s $8 million subsidy for a private developer to build a 19-story “micro-apartment” building violates the Arizona Constitution.

In a lawsuit brought by the Goldwater Institute, the court held that the city gave this private developer a package of benefits totaling as much as $27 million dollars in exchange for construction of a building that at most would benefit the city by $5.8 million—a difference the court characterized as “grossly disproportionate.” “Arizona’s Constitution is plain: Taxpayer resources should not be used to advance private, special interests,” said Goldwater Institute Director of National Litigation Jon Riches, who litigated this case.

The Goldwater Institute had filed the lawsuit challenging the unfair taxpayer-funded crony subsidies on behalf of Angel’s Trumpet Ale House, a family owned-business that sits beside the site of the would-be development. The ale house would have been forced to pay higher taxes to subsidize the business next door. Riches said that the court’s ruling “should put government entities across the state on notice that taxpayers cannot be made to foot the bill for special interest projects of politicians.” Put simply, government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers.

Read more on the ruling at In Defense of Liberty.

Free to Work in Arizona

While the coronavirus pandemic has left Americans facing record unemployment, a new law in Arizona is helping people get to work. And as Goldwater Institute National Investigative Journalist Mark Flatten shows in a new series of reports, this law already having remarkable success.

Since Governor Doug Ducey signed the Goldwater Institute’s Breaking Down Barriers to Work Act into law last year, more than 1,000 Arizonans have been able to continue their careers without having to tangle with costly and time-consuming red tape. The reports feature the stories of several Arizonans across the state who have benefitted from it, including a San Diego-based construction and commercial electrical contractor with 25 years in the building trades who was looking to grow his California business into the state of Arizona, and an acupuncturist who obtained her Arizona license—and dealt with less paperwork and “a much easier process” to get that license—thanks to Breaking Down Barriers to Work.

You can read Flatten’s full reports here.

Here’s What Parents Need to Know about School Reopenings

Summer break is kicking off for students around the country—ending an academic year full of challenging coronavirus-related circumstances. And the uncertainty that characterized this school year might continue into the next: What will school look like for students when class is back in session come fall?

In a new In Defense of Liberty post and video, Goldwater Institute Senior Fellow Jonathan Butcher shares three things that parents need to know about school reopenings and the current education landscape. “Public and private school students, especially those struggling to keep up, cannot afford to lose another semester,” Butcher writes in the post. “The lesson from the Pandemic Spring is that we cannot wait for the virus to disappear before we start living again.”

Read Butcher’s full post—and watch his video—here.

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