The Scheme to Bring a Commuter Rail to the East Valley Shows the Lengths Government Will Go to Waste Your Dollars

The Scheme to Bring a Commuter Rail to the East Valley Shows the Lengths Government Will Go to Waste Your Dollars

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

If there’s one entity that specializes in giving people something they don’t need—or aren’t even asking for—it’s the government. So, naturally, while the country faces sky-high inflation and Arizonans make sacrifices in their family budgets, the Town of Gilbert saw fit to discuss a potential…commuter rail.

That’s right. At the end of April, the Gilbert Town Council announced that it’s considering a $289,000 consulting contract for a feasibility study on establishing a commuter rail. What this would accomplish—and why anyone thinks this would be good for Gilbert—remains a mystery.

Even before COVID, public transit usage has been on the decline. And that’s only worsened since…

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Schools That Require Teachers to Attend Grooming Training Must Be Held Accountable

Schools That Require Teachers to Attend Grooming Training Must Be Held Accountable

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

Once upon a time, teachers were measured by their ability to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. And schools did everything they could to ensure that the teachers they hired were trained properly in these critical subjects.

But now, too many school districts have refocused their priorities, opting to indoctrinate our kids with diversity, equity, and inclusion. We’ve certainly seen it with the cleverly disguised Marxism inherent to Critical Race Theory. But this isn’t the only avenue the left is using to come after students.

Pushing gender and sexual identity have also become popular. One Arizona school district has even gone so far as to encourage children to replace their “deadname”—the birth name that individuals reject upon transitioning genders—with their preferred name on their school ID. And now, a school in that same district, Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD), has required middle school teachers to attend grooming training…

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Now Is Not the Time for a Legislative Pay Raise

Now Is Not the Time for a Legislative Pay Raise

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

Inflation is through the roof, gas prices are higher than ever before, out-of-state money was being used to put historic tax cuts on hold, and now lawmakers want a pay raise. Yes, while the Bidenflation tax is cutting deeply into the pockets of hardworking Arizonans and small businesseslawmakers want their pockets deepened—to the tune of a 137.5% pay increase. That is what is being proposed in SB 1180 and SCR 1018.

Under Arizona’s constitution, any increase in the salary of state lawmakers must be approved by voters. In the past 50 years, legislators and the AZ Commission on Salaries have sent a pay raise to the ballot 18 times. All but two of them have been shot down by the voters. The most recent referral, in 2014, to raise legislative salaries to $35,000 was rejected 68%-32%.

Interestingly enough, lawmakers actually gave themselves a pay raise just last year, sidestepping the constitution and voters in the process…

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A New Sales Tax for Fire Districts Is Unfair and Unnecessary

A New Sales Tax for Fire Districts Is Unfair and Unnecessary

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

The last thing the people of Arizona need right now is a sales tax increase. But leave it to state lawmakers to try to push one through by proposing a referral to put a tax hike on the ballot to fund fire districts.

The bill is SCR1049. And if it makes it onto the ballot—and gets approved by voters—it would create a 20-year statewide 0.1% sales tax to fund Arizona’s 144 fire districts. It would also distribute the funds proportionally to the fire district’s equalized property valuation, but not to exceed 3% to any one fire district.

To the average voter, this may not sound like a big deal. After all, firefighters provide an important service that keep people and their property safe.

But this policy would be a disaster…

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SB1643 Would Give Large Companies Billions in Taxpayer Dollars to Fund Liberal Causes

SB1643 Would Give Large Companies Billions in Taxpayer Dollars to Fund Liberal Causes

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

It is no secret that the Club is critical of special interest tax credit programs that distort our tax code and pick winners and losers in the market. Though a few of these tax credits have been enacted by the legislature over the years, there is one program on the books that has grown into the billions and has successfully evaded any real scrutiny: the Research and Development tax credit program.

The Research and Development tax credit program piggybacks off the federal program and operates under the premise that it will increase the amount of investment corporations make in Arizona on research and development. The program is very generous, allowing corporations to claim a 24% credit on the first $2.5M in qualifying expenses and an additional 15% up and above the $2.5M. If a corporation effectively eliminates their tax liability, they are allowed to carry forward the excess credits for up to 10 years. For businesses with fewer than 150 employees, the pot is even sweeter…

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