By The Goldwater Institute
Partisan gridlock in Congress is often the rule, but there are the occasional and notable exceptions. In the recent spending bill, lawmakers successfully repealed the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)—one of the most extreme examples of consolidated, unchecked government power in American history. As the only organization to have challenged IPAB in court, we’re celebrating the elimination of what columnist George Will called “the most anti-constitutional law ever written.”
Enacted eight years ago as part of the Affordable Care Act, IPAB was created as a cost-saving mechanism for the Medicare program for the nation’s elderly, but its authority was far broader. The unelected Board wielded unprecedented power to write healthcare rules that would automatically become law without a vote of Congress, signature of the president, notice to the public, or review by the courts.
Some fiscal conservatives are now lamenting the fact that, by repealing IPAB, Congress has removed important checks on uncontrolled Medicare spending. This is an issue that should not be ignored. True, the Medicare program is in desperate need of modernization and financial overhaul, and IPAB would have been a tool to control those costs. But the costs to our Constitution would have been far greater. Those doubting the dangers that IPAB posed should consider the following:
IPAB’s authority was not limited to Medicare. IPAB had much broader powers to make law governing both government and private healthcare—whatever the Board considered “related to the Medicare program.” IPAB’s toolbox was vast: It could enact price controls and even levy taxes. And those decisions would have been free of any meaningful checks or balances.
IPAB’s power was consolidated in one individual. Some viewed Congress’s repeal of IPAB as premature—after all, neither President Obama nor Trump had appointed any members to the Board, and it had not yet taken any actions. But lack of membership was only more cause for concern. So long as IPAB remained unstaffed, the Secretary of Health and Human Services alone wielded the Board’s vast powers.
IPAB’s decisions were not subject to judicial review. IPAB’s so-called “recommendations” would have automatically become law, without review by Congress or the courts. In other words, the ACA left unaccountable bureaucrats free to make decisions that could affect public and private healthcare for millions of Americans.
IPAB had the power to ration care. Many mistakenly believed that IPAB was prohibited from rationing healthcare. But what constitutes rationing? The ACA never defined “rationing care”—instead, it left the Board to define rationing however it wished, and it prohibited patients and doctors from turning to the courts for protection if the Board stopped them from receiving or delivering care. In other words, IPAB put bureaucrats in charge of deciding what type and how much medical care people should receive. That system would have deprived patients of access to needed care—increasing centralized decision making at the expense of individual healthcare decisions.
The U.S. Constitution gives the lawmaking power to Congress alone because legislators are responsible to their constituents and checked by the other branches of government. No agency can be rendered exempt from democratic processes and the rule of law. That is why Congress should be lauded for repealing the unchecked and unprecedented consolidation of bureaucratic power.Read more
PHOENIX – State Treasurer Jeff DeWit announced yesterday during the State Board of Investment meeting that the Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund, also referred to as the Schools’ Trust Fund, has hit a record market value of more than $6 Billion.
Even with increased distributions totaling more than $793 million to Endowment beneficiaries, which is more than three times that of any previous treasurer, the endowment has grown in excess of $1 billion during Treasurer DeWit’s tenure.
“Credit for this achievement goes to the dedicated work of Senior Portfolio Manager Tim White who has managed the fund for nearly 20 years, along with the rest of the investment staff, and the members of the State Board of Investment,” Treasurer DeWit said.
Treasurer DeWit, who is chairman of the State Board of Investment, also noted that the Treasurer’s office reached another milestone in January with the month ending value of all investments at $15.85 Billion, an all-time high for assets under management.Read more
By Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers
Last week I received a call from the media asking me to comment on Congressman Trent Franks’ pending resignation and wanted to know if I would be forming a committee to run for that office.
To say the least, I was stunned. But even more than that, I was forced to look at the possibility of going to Washington, D.C., and how that would affect the city, my family and friends. It made me look deep inside myself.
I was shocked at the hundreds of calls, e-mails, text messages, and the sheer number of folks stopping and asking; maybe asking isn’t the right word - pleading for me to run for Congressional District 8. My phone battery has been dying the last few days from lengthy calls from people wanting me to represent them in D.C. It’s been overwhelming to say the least. But maybe even more surprising to me are the folks who have been brutally honest with me, telling me NOT to go to D.C.
It’s been pointed out to me that just five years ago, our fine city had a BBB bond rating (basically junk bonds). It was also pointed out to me that five years ago, we had many pending lawsuits and less than zero dollars in our savings account. Staff was looking for employment in other cities, meaning we were losing talented and skilled people - what I have referred to as brain drain. We had an Interim Police Chief, Interim City Manager, library hours cut, parks not receiving water, leaving grass dying and no outlook for the future.
The Chamber of Commerce was kept at arm’s length. Millions and millions of dollars was being paid to fund professional hockey, and a professional football franchise that was being disrespected by city staff. Our roads were getting worse by not doing necessary preventative maintenance. We were the second-most financially strapped city in the United States, second to Detroit, Michigan, (and that city went bankrupt.) And there were other morale busters.
Fourth of July fireworks display – cancelled.
The Fire Parade—cancelled.
The city had done everything possible – except fix the problem.
That was then.
Most recently, our city received an AAA bond rating. This is the strongest sign that our city is back on track and headed in the right direction financially. It has not been easy, but we’ve made difficult decisions and the city has turned around.
In the area of quality of life, friends are telling me that with my leadership, we have a very successful Fourth of July fireworks display that is much larger, but not paid by the taxpayers. Yes, I restarted it, but not alone - by working with Jeff Teetsel, a principal at Westgate.
We just had the Fifth Annual Hometown Christmas Parade. Yes, I started that, also. Now, it has large sponsors, such as our own Sanderson Ford, and a committee of nearly 35 members. It’s not a city event, but the city has become a big partner in helping it succeed for our residents. It is the largest parade in Arizona.
I’m reminded that five years ago, we had no program for our veterans. This past September, we held our Fifth Annual Glendale Stand Up for Veterans event. I started that, recognizing that someone who signs a paper saying that they will give their life for their country deserves the full attention of all, to ensure that they are not forgotten and looked after.
One very good friend of mine told me that I’m the only person he knows that can take a problem for some, and turn it into a fun event that helps so many.Read more
by Team Ducey
Arizona public schools are helping students make real educational gains.
A recent New York Times article analyzed school districts across the country to determine whose students were learning the most between 3rd and 8th grades. They found three of the top 20 public school districts in the nation are in Arizona.
Students in the Chandler, Peoria, and Washington Elementary School Districts are showing more than 5 years' educational growth between 3rd and 8th grades, with #2 ranked Chandler students gaining nearly six years of learning in 5 years' time.
We're making real, measurable progress in education, closing gaps and bringing students up to grade level.
Want to see how your district stacks up? Read the article.
There's still plenty of work to do improving our Arizona schools, and Governor Ducey is committed to doing it. But things are moving in the right direction for our students, parents, teachers, and principals to ensure that every child has the opportunity for an excellent public education in our state.
If you think people ought to know about the progress we're making, post this story on Facebook, tweet it out, or simply forward this email to a friend.
PHOENIX – State Treasurer Jeff DeWit presented Arizona State Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Yee the 2017 Hero of the Arizona State Treasurer’s Office award for her sponsorship of SB 1448 this past session.
“The changes made in this legislation will lead to many millions more in earnings from the investments in our office,’’ Treasurer DeWit said.
“Majority Leader Yee’s knowledge of the Treasurer’s office from here prior employment here was critical in getting this legislation unanimously approved this year,” DeWit said. “She truly understands the role the State Treasurer of Arizona serves in protecting taxpayers.”
The wording of the award is as follows:
Whereas, SB 1448 was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Yee during the first regular session of the 53rd Arizona Legislature;
Whereas, SB 1448 was unanimously approved by the Arizona State Senate and the Arizona House of Representatives;
Whereas, SB 1448, was enacted as Chapter 277, Laws 2017, and became law on August 9, 2017;
Whereas, Majority Leader Yee worked tirelessly for the successful passage of this legislation;
Whereas, SB 1448 changes Arizona Law that will benefit the investing of taxpayer funds by the State Treasurer of Arizona;
Whereas, Majority Leader Yee’s knowledge of the Treasurer’s office from her prior employment in the office was critical in the passage of this legislation leading to increased earnings for taxpayers;
Whereas, Majority Leader Yee truly understands the role that the State Treasurer of Arizona serves in protecting taxpayers;
Whereas, those changes will lead to many millions more in earnings from investments by the Treasurer’s Investment Management Division, while maintaining our conservative investing approach;
I hereby declare, in the capacity of Treasurer for the State of Arizona, Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Yee as the 2017 Hero of the State Treasurer’s Office.
Former chief deputy: If Sheriff Paul Penzone was serious about making a safe community, he'd seize more drugs, arrest more people - and actually enforce the law.
By Jerry Sheridan
Paul Penzone’s My Turn (”Where we're taking the sheriff's department after Joe Arpaio,” Aug. 6) was entertaining. His criticism of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, however, is unwarranted.
I don’t have space to explain Arpaio’s defense here. Suffice it to say he is appealing. Police unions throughout the state, representing more than 18,000 police officers, endorsed Arpaio against Penzone in the last two elections.
By Governor Doug Ducey
(Originally published by CNCB)
Things move quickly in Arizona.
In July 2016, when I wrote an op-ed for the 10th anniversary of CNBC's America's Top States for Business series, I talked about how our state is slashing red tape and embracing the new economy.
What a difference a year makes.
Since then, Google began offering Arizonans rides in their own self-driving Waymo vehicles. Airbnb hosts in our state earned more than $50 million throughout the year. And an array of first-class companies — from Vector Space Systems to Orbital ATK and many others — have expanded their presence here.
Three-hundred days of sunshine per year certainly helps, but it's not just the beautiful weather and panoramic mountain views that convince companies to relocate. It's a combination of Arizona's top-shelf quality of life and the pro-growth environment we've fostered over the past few years to make our state a great place to do business.
Just to name three:
A highly trained workforce: We know what it takes to train the future. The newest rankings from U.S. News & World Report found that Arizona is home to the top three public high schools in the country. We're making major investments in our universities, too, including a $1 billion financing package that will allow them to make critical research infrastructure improvements to stay ahead of the competition.
We also announced an initiative last year to equip at least 60 percent of adults in our state with a certificate or degree by the year 2030 so Arizonans they have the tools they need to succeed in our quickly-changing economy. With Arizona State University being ranked the most innovative university in the U.S. for two years in a row now (beating out MIT and Stanford), you know we're on the right track and moving forward fast.
A 21st-century government: Some states have a regulatory system that reacts to innovation; in Arizona, we anticipate and embrace it so that new technologies have to catch up with legislation instead of the other way around. Whether that's an executive order paving the way for research into self-driving technology or a revamp of our revenue system to make home-sharing easier, we're always looking forward so that entrepreneurs can do what they do best without running into an unnecessary bureaucratic speed bump. It also means eliminating burdensome and outdated regulations already on the books, which is why we unveiled "Regulation Rollback" in January with the goal of soliciting input about which regulations to cut and then eliminating 500 by the end of this year.
Strong international relationships: "Trade is not a problem to solve. It's an issue to focus on and expand." That was my closing remark to an audience in Washington, D.C., at a discussion about the U.S.–Mexico relationship. Since taking office, I have made it a priority to strengthen Arizona's relationship with elected officials and business leaders in Mexico, and other countries, in order to bring more jobs, manufacturing, and exporting power to our region.
The relationship put our state over the top when Lucid Motors was deciding where to locate its new $700 million electric vehicle manufacturing facility a few months ago, with Lucid Motors specifically citing our "strong regional supply chain" and "proximity to rail, major interstates, ports, training facilities, [and] utility providers."
Sonora Gov. Claudia Pavlovich and I are also working together with the hope of creating a new cruise-ship port at Puerto Peñasco. International economic activity, and the relationships that foster it, can be a huge boost for businesses looking to expand, and Arizona is helping to make that happen.
You don't need to take my word that our state is the place to be. People are seeing our low-tax, commonsense regulatory environment, and they're voting with their feet.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, our own Maricopa County is the single fastest-growing county in the United States, adding more than 222 people per day in 2016. This year, Phoenix officially reclaimed the title of the fifth-largest city in the country, too.
Companies are doing the same. We've seen a number of major job announcements over the past few months alone, including Constant Aviation in May and Benchmark Electronics, which is relocating its corporate headquarters to Arizona from Texas. In fact, hiring for finance and insurance jobs grew faster in Arizona than in any other state in the country over the 12 months leading to March 2017.
That's no accident.
Arizona has been nationally recognized for its economic competitiveness, including recently in two prominent trade publications. We were given the 2017 Gold Shovel Award in Area Development's list of top states for economic development in the five- to eight-million population category, and we were named the No. 1 most competitive state in the mountain region in Site Selection's 2017 Prosperity Cup.
In other words, when entrepreneurs get sick of being overtaxed and overregulated in places like California, they pack up a U-Haul (another great company based here) and move to ArizonaRead more
By the Goldwater Institute
For seven years, leaders in Washington have promised to repeal Obamacare, but as we saw this week, Congress doesn't seem any closer to real health care reform. The good news is that there’s an opportunity for action in our 50 states.
Take the dental care crisis, for example. Did you know that 18 percent of lower-income Americans say that they or someone in their household has turned to an emergency room for dental pain treatment? And in Arizona alone, 2.4 million of the state's 7 million residents are living in areas with a serious shortage of dentists. That leads to higher costs and poorer health.
But we don't have to rely on Washington to solve this problem.
States can increase access to dental care and reduce costs by licensing dental therapists who carry out routine dental procedures. And it's a solution that has bipartisan support, as The Huffington Post reported this week:
While most media attention has been focused on the lack of consensus on health care in Washington, several conservative organizations and think tanks, like the Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute, have joined state-based coalitions now spanning the political spectrum that advocate for a free market approach to addressing the oral health crisis.
The dental establishment has actively resisted this reform and usually cites unfounded concerns over patient safety, even though the safety and quality track record for dental therapists is long and well-documented.
Limiting the supply of providers not only increases the cost of care services; it forces Americans to pay higher prices. To increase dental access and affordability, states can and should allow for dental therapists.
It's a solution that doesn't have to go through Congress. And it's one example of how states can help reform health care while Washington just keeps talking.
By State Treasurer Jeff DeWit
PHOENIX – The Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund, also referred to the Schools’
Endowment, reached another new milestone under State Treasurer Jeff DeWit growing to $5.57
billion at the end of April 2017.
“The hard work and incredible staff at the State Treasurer’s Office continues to produce great
investment results,” Treasurer Jeff DeWit said. “After beating most university endowments in
2016, the winning streak continues for our schools’ Endowment.”
Last year, the fund’s return beat many of the large public investment funds in the United States
including CalPERS, CalSTERS, Dartmouth, MIT, Stanford and Harvard.
“Managing the investments internally, right here in the Arizona Treasurer’s Office, has been a
huge win for our schools as it allows them to earn more and keep more of their money,” DeWit
said. “These record earnings are on top of the fact the Endowment has paid out nearly $225
million to schools this fiscal year, more than any year in Arizona’s history with two months to
by Andy Biggs
The false claim that Trump conspired with Russia to engineer the 2016 election has reached the height of absurdity. The media and Democrats are trying to bamboozle the country by conflating several isolated incidents. I just wrote in the Washington-Examiner that they have no evidence but have created a story that combines the allegations about the Russians and the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
They have made three false claims against Trump and I have refuted them in my op-ed. You can read it here.
Thank you for your continued support,
Andy BiggsRead more