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Goldwater Institute

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The Goldwater Institute was founded in 1988 with the blessing of Sen. Barry Goldwater. The Institute works to keep watch on Arizona government, expand school choice, restore economic liberty, protect private property, and secure Arizona's independence from unconstitutional federal encroachments.


The Institute receives its funding from individual members. It does not seek or accept government funding.


The major focus of the Institute is undertaking research and publishing policy recommendations on fiscal, educational, and constitutional issues. The Institute has three main research centers.

Center for Constitutional Government

The Center for Constitutional Government acts as a check on government power, with "focuses on property rights, campaign finance, regulatory bodies, legislative terms, balance of power among levels of government, processes of judicial appointment, and state sovereignty, among others."[1]

Center for Economic Prosperity

The Center for Economic Prosperity aims to reform government regulations that restrain Arizona's economy. Its research focuses include "the effectiveness of current and proposed economic measures, and suggests alternative strategies to generate economic prosperity in Arizona. Specifically, studies address taxation, spending and government regulation, among other issues."[2]

Center for Educational Opportunity

Citing educational freedom on "paramount," the Center for Educational Opportunity works for policies that allow the greatest educational opportunity for all Arizona students. Its research includes "expansion of charter schools, education tax credits and vouchers, and the regulatory climate for alternative and independent schools."[3]

Transparency projects

Open Government Project

The Institute's Open Government Project focuses on increasing government transparency, and in turn giving power back to the citizens of Arizona. The Project is concentrating on three areas - backdoor electioneering, transparency in education, and transparency in government budgeting.[4]

Also as a part of the project, the Institute asks candidates statewide to sign an "Open Government Pledge" to show their support for greater transparency. The list of those who have signed the pledge is published on the Institute's website.[5]

Center for Constitutional Litigation

In June 2007 The Goldwater Institute created the Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation to protect Arizona citizens' Constitutional rights. It engages in litigation against the government in support of individual liberty and includes such fields as fiscal responsibility, school choice, and property rights. The litigation center is funded by member donations and sues the state for free on behalf of Arizonians.[6]


Cities picking property tax exemptions

Sen. Ken Cheuvront (D-AZ) credits the Goldwater Institute with putting "the fear of God into" the state legislature regarding a policy wherein cities gave property tax breaks lasting a half century or more to hand-picked developers. Gov. Jan Brewer signed the law banning this practice on May 10, 2010.

Now, the payments that designated builders provide instead of property taxes will double and the normal length of leases with cities will be cut in half. These leases have already taken developments valued at more than $2 billion throughout Arizona off the property tax rolls.

The Goldwater Institute's exclusive investigative report, “Shifting the Burden: Cities Waive Property Taxes for Favored Businesses,” showed that those high-rise office buildings and shopping centers would generate more than $30 million in property taxes each year if they were not exempted through lease agreements with cities. Those who weren't cherry picked for these breaks were footing the bill for higher property taxes, local schools, community colleges and other levels of government.[7]

External links