Metro Light Rail, the slow-moving, unsightly train system that cost $1.4 billion to build in 2008 and costs taxpayers tens of millions in losses each year, may be expanding soon if Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton has his way.  In fact, his goal is to triple it over the next 30 years.

At a time when resources are still scarce, and there are so many pressing transportation needs around Arizona, this is just a terrible idea.  The City of Phoenix alone recovers less than half of what it spends each year to operate and maintain the system, not unlike other East Valley cities.  Further, as the Arizona Republic noted, tax revenue for the project could be $1 billion short of projections due to the tanking economy.

So how are Mayor Stanton and other city leaders going to fund an expansion of a system that is already hemorrhaging money, while trying to make up for a $1 billion shortfall? There’s only one way: More taxes.  Specifically higher taxes both before Transit 2000 expires in 2020, and after if voters approve.

So join the Club in fighting this horrible idea, and let Mayor Stanton know that we can’t just can’t afford this scheme – especially with so many of our roads in need of repair.  You can make your voice heard through, and let your elected representatives know just how you feel about expanding Light Rail, and its effect on both your taxes, and the financial future of Phoenix.

How many politicians at the State Capitol can lay claim to the fact that they supported subsidies for Hollywood liberals, tax credits to combat global warming, and voted against more transparency on how are tax dollars are spent?  In fact there is only one man who was able to achieve this dubious accomplishment—State Senator Bob Worsley.  And because of that, he has been chosen to be this month’s Free Enterprise Club Crony of the Month.

Since being elected in 2012, Worsley has been a reliable supporter of crony capitalist legislation in the Senate.  This was on display when he voted in favor of giving $900 Million dollars in tax credits to Hollywood Liberals to make movies, and when he spearheaded legislation to give away taxpayer money to manufacturers with the express purpose—as stated in the bill—of “reducing their carbon footprint by investing in renewable energy.” Picking winners and losers through our tax code has been a problem for decades, but Worsley has taken the cronyism to a whole new level.

In response to the large amounts of corporate welfare being doled out at the legislature, the Arizona Free Enterprise Club introduced HB 2586, legislation that would have required increased transparency on how our tax credit dollars are being spent. Since taxpayers are providing millions in ‘economic development’ tax credits to corporations, it only makes sense for everyone to know where the money is going.

Unfortunately, Sen. Worsley voted against the measure in committee, killing critical transparency reforms on the very credits that he supports. That is crony capitalism in a nutshell: support special tax breaks for your friends and oppose efforts to see where the money is really going. Sen. Worsley likes to declare that he is “pro-business”, now he can also say that he has been named the Crony of the Month.

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club PAC today announced the endorsements of Ralph Heap for the Senate and John King for the Arizona State House of Representatives.  Both Heap and King are pro-growth Republican candidates running in hotly contested primaries.

Ralph Heap is a committed free market conservative who strongly opposes special deals and picking winners and losers with our tax dollars. John King is an experienced small business owner and currently sits on the Kyrene School Board.

“Both Heap and King are the type of pro-growth, free market candidates we need at the legislature,” Free Enterprise Club President Scot Mussi said. “They will both be strong advocates for taxpayers and will stand up against lobbyists and other politically connected groups looking for more spending or a special tax break at the capitol.”

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The Arizona Free Enterprise Club is a free market policy and lobbying group dedicated to promoting a strong and vibrant Arizona economy.