Americans for Limited Government
- Chairman: Howard Rich
- President: Bill Wilson
In 2006, ALG helped fund ballot initiatives to curtail the expanded scope of eminent domain created by the US Supreme Court's Kelo v. New London decision in 2005. Some of these measures would also have required governments to either waive restrictions or compensate land owners when land use and environmental laws decreased the value of parcels of property. These initiatives were known as "Kelo-Plus" to indicate that they included a provision to reform regulatory takings policy, in addition to reforming eminent domain abuses.
Oregon Ballot Measure 37, approved by voters in Oregon in 2004, was a regulatory takings reform initiative. Encouraged by this success, and piggybacking on the public backlash from the Supreme Court's 2005 Kelo v. City of New London decision, ALG supported "Kelo-Plus" ballot initiatives in 2006 in Arizona, California, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, and Oklahoma.
The Missouri and Oklahoma petition drives did not collect sufficient signatures, and the Montana initiative was removed from the ballot by a circuit judge who found that signature collection fraud had occurred.
Of the three states (Arizona, California, Idaho) where Kelo-Plus ballot initiatives appeared on the ballot in 2006, the measure passed in only Arizona.
Washington voters declined to pass I-933, that state's takings reform proposal.
Taxpayer Bill of Rights
ALG also supports initiatives to enact Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) laws, which put a cap on how fast a state's spending can grow. The specific cap is based on an index that is a combination of inflation and population growth, sometimes known as a "popu-flation" index. These laws provide for "rainy day" (emergency) funds as well as the ability for state voters to decide whether their representatives should spend revenue surpluses rather than have it refunded to the taxpayers. Colorado voters passed the best-known example of a TABOR law in 1992 and later voted to temporarily suspend it via the 2005 Colorado Economic Recovery Act.
In 2006, ALG also assisted in ultimately unsuccessful attempts to qualify TABOR initiatives for ballots in Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada and Oklahoma. The Michigan and Missouri efforts were unsuccessful on the grounds that insufficient numbers of signatures were collected in the petition drives. In Montana, after the measure had been certified by the ballot by the Secretary of State, a private coalition successfully sued to have it removed from the ballot on the grounds that signature collection fraud had occurred. In Nevada, after the measure was certified for the ballot, a private coalition successfully sued to have it removed when the Nevada Supreme Court decided against the measure being on the ballot on the grounds that two slightly different versions of the wording had been submitted to the Secretary of State. In Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Supreme Court refused to certify the TABOR measure for the ballot on the grounds that insufficient signatures were collected and because the "evidence support[ed] substantial illegal participation of out-of-state circulators."
ALG promotes a parental choice approach to solving the woes of the American public school system. It supports school vouchers and expansion of charter schools, arguing that competition among schools will increase both the quality and the economic efficiency of public education. The organization believes that providing poor and middle-class parents with the economic means to choose from a variety of schools for their children will promote accountability in school administration, and permit parents a greater degree of control over the schools their children attend.
A fourth issue of concern for ALG is accountability in the judicial system. The group was involved in efforts to pass Montana CI-98 in 2006, a measure that would have allowed voters in that state to recall elected judges or justices for any reason--a change from Montana's pre-existing requirement that in order to recall a judge, incapacity, incompetence, misconduct, or a felony must have occurred. The initiative, along with two others, was removed from the ballot after a hard-fought series of legal challenges from opponents.
In 2006, the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center was a frequent critic of Americans for Limited Government, establishing a website, "Howie Rich Exposed" devoted to attacking Howard Rich, the president of ALG. The most typical criticisms was the issue of "out-of-state money".,,
After ALG's decision in December 2006 to move its national office from Illinois to Virginia, the Center for Public Integrity repeatedly claimed, although without substantiating the charge, that ALG was "forced out of Illinois in December 2006 for failing to comply with state charity laws." The Center for Public Integrity, hasn't provided any details about who "forced" the organization to move, how the alleged force was applied, or any reason to believe that ALG couldn't have remediated what might have been a very minor technical compliance issue.
On the other hand, ALG hasn't denied CPI's December 21, 2006 report that "Three Big Donors Bankrolled Americans for Limited Government in 2005." . According to CPI's award-winning investigative series , "Americans for Limited Government, the tax-exempt organization that bankrolled a series of controversial ballot initiatives this year, raised 99 percent of its $5.4 million in total contributions in 2005 from just three donors."
- Americans for Limited Government
- Human Events spotlight on ALG
- Takings Initiatives Accountability Project
- The Oregonian on Howard Rich
- The Oregonian on ALG
- PBS on Howard Rich and ALG
- High Country News investigative report on ALG by Ray Ring. Article won the 2006 Polk Award for Political reporting.