Arizona Supreme Court to Hear Two Goldwater Cases

Big news: The Goldwater Institute is heading back to the Arizona Supreme Court—not once, but twice!

This past Thursday, the Arizona Supreme Court announced that it will hear two cases brought by Goldwater, involving the government’s power to tax and to spend. The first case challenges the constitutionality of subsidies that the city of Peoria gave to a private university. Although the Arizona Constitution’s “Gift Clause” prohibits government from giving or lending money to private businesses, city officials gave almost $2 million of taxpayer money to a school called Huntington University, in exchange for the University’s promise to run a school for its own private profit.

The second involves Pinal County’s illegal tax on retail sales. Although state law specifies how counties are supposed to adopt taxes to fix roads, officials with the Pinal Regional Transportation Agency decided to do it a different way—imposing the tax specifically on retail sales (which is not allowed) and then dividing up the tax so that it applies to the first $10,000 of a purchase but not at amounts above that.

What’s next for these cases? For both, there will be a round of new briefs filed between now and early November, followed by oral arguments. Decisions are expected by spring 2021. You can read more from Goldwater Institute Vice President for Litigation Timothy Sandefur at In Defense of Liberty.

Prop. 208’s Raw Deal for Arizona

At least 124,000 lost jobs over 10 years. A minimum of $2.4 billion in state and local tax revenues—also lost. Significant cuts to social services, public safety, and higher education.

These are just some of the devastating consequences that the Proposition 208 “Invest in Ed” initiative would wreak on Arizona, according to a new Goldwater Institute report released this week. In their report Good for Special Interests and Unions, Bad for Arizona: The Economic Impacts of Proposition 208, Goldwater Institute Director of Education Policy Matt Beienburg and Senior Fellow Jim Rounds lay out the costly impact the initiative would have on Arizona, if voters approve it in the November 2020 election.

“In more normal times, a near doubling of a state’s tax rates would prove economically damaging enough on its own,” Beienburg and Rounds write in the report. “But in the wake of one of the most severe economic disruptions in generations, a proposal such as the Prop. 208 tax increase represents an especially harmful and ill-timed danger—one that will negatively impact Arizona’s recovery and the state’s ability to again rank as a national leader in key economic statistics.”

You can read the full report here—and to learn more about why Proposition 208 would hurt Arizonans, visit goldwaterinstitute.org/no-on-208/.

Shouldn’t You Be Able to Keep a Pulse on Your Own Health?

Last week, Fitbit, known for its popular digital activity trackers and smartwatches, got some long-awaiting good news: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finally given the company permission to release its most advanced features to date—just in time for consumers to take advantage of these features on Fitbit’s newly announced Sense smartwatch.

But, write the Goldwater Institute’s Christina Sandefur and Naomi Lopez on In Defense of Liberty, “consumers who are unable to afford the Fitbit Sense’s $300+ price tag (or don’t need every bell and whistle included in a high-end watch) may be out of luck. That’s because every company and device requires separate FDA approval. In fact, any improvements or changes made by the same company to the same device requires new FDA approval.”

Especially in the age of COVID-19, this is nonsensical—especially now, it’s important for people to have access to their own personal health data to help make more informed decision regarding their care. Yet the FDA holds significant sway over the sale of “digital health”—and that keeps people from more easily accessing useful data regarding their own health.

“In the midst of a global pandemic and the most innovative era of medical progress, we should demand a system that defaults to patient empowerment and encourages innovation, allowing people to improve their lives, rather than the current one that is keeping patients in the dark,” Sandefur and Lopez write. The Goldwater Institute has long championed reforms that put patients back in charge of their healthcare, like Right to Try—the now-federal law which helps terminal patients access potentially lifesaving investigational treatments—and Truth in Medicine, which allows drug manufacturers to share truthful information about off-label treatments with doctors.

You can read the full post here.

UPCOMING EVENT: Slavery and the Constitution

Ratified in 1865, the 13th Amendment put an end to slavery in the United States. But what did the U.S. Constitution have to say about slavery prior to the 13th Amendment? Interpretations vary. While some view the fact that the Constitution did not explicitly mention slavery as proof that the Founders were covertly preserving the practice, others see the Constitution as fundamentally anti-slavery—including Frederick Douglass, who called the Constitution a “glorious liberty document.”

Goldwater’s Timothy Sandefur—the author of the book Frederick Douglass: Self-Made Man—will be taking part in a Heritage Foundation virtual event to discuss these differing interpretations. The event will be held streaming online on Tuesday, September 29, from 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM ET. Click here for more information and to register.

Join Us for Our 2020 Virtual Annual Dinner with Special Guest Dennis Prager

You’re invited to join us for the very first “virtual” Goldwater Institute Annual Dinner, featuring special guests Dennis Prager and U.S. Representative Andy Biggs. This exclusive, invitation-only event will be streamed live online and will feature critical insights from Dennis Prager about America’s future as we sit on the precipice of the 2020 elections.

Click here to get your tickets today!

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