News and Updates

For over two decades Arizona has led the nation in expanding popular school choice options for parents and students in our K-12 system. And the results speak for themselves—over 50% of parents in Arizona are opting to send their child to a school that is NOT their designated district public school!

These education decisions are made for countless reasons, but the important point is  they are being made by parents–not lawmakers, district officials or bureaucrats. That is why Prop 305 is a winner for Arizona. This measure offers one more option for parents to consider when choosing a school for their children.

Under Prop 305, students would be able to obtain an Empowerment Scholarship Account that can be used to attend a school of their choice. The program is structured to ensure that funding is not reduced from district schools and can only be used for direct education expenses such as books, tutoring and tuition. Clear oversight exists in the program to guarantee the money is not misspent or used for non-educational purposes.

Prop 305 continues to build on Arizona’s school choice tradition by adding one more option for parents to consider. We encourage everyone to vote YES on 305.

Today the Arizona Free Enterprise Club announced three new endorsements for candidates running for the Arizona Legislature.

The endorsed candidates represent individuals who align with the organization’s principles and key policy goals.  Club President Scot Mussi stated, “It is critical Arizona has leaders and policy makers who are able to articulate and stand up for free market principles and pro-growth policies.  These candidates have proven they can and will.”

State Legislative Races

J.D. Mesnard, LD 17 Senate

Rick Gray, LD 21 Senate

Gail Griffin, LD 14 House

Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat or Independent, it is safe to say most people would be aghast at the idea of their tax dollars being used to fund political parties.

Yet that is exactly what the Clean Elections Commission has been permitting for years.

In 1998 Arizona created a new program called Clean Elections, which allows politicians to receive taxpayer money in order to run for office.  Candidates who decide to participate in the Clean Elections system must collect a certain number of $5 individual contributions to qualify for taxpayer funding.

Therefore, it was shocking to see several taxpayer-funded candidates writing large checks from their campaign accounts to political parties.  Many of these candidates were running in uncompetitive districts, and some ran “ghost” campaigns where there was little evidence that they were even trying to win.  When it was all said and done, over $100,000 in taxpayer money was paid to political parties in 2016.

It is pretty obvious that the taxpayer money being funneled to political parties was payback for helping candidates qualify for clean election dollars. It is wrong and must be stopped.

There was an effort in 2017 to end the practice, but after defeating legislation at the capitol, the Clean Elections Commission promised to address the issue through rulemaking.

Instead, Clean Elections passed a rule CODIFYING the practice, sending a direct signal to candidates that it’s OK to send their funding to political machines.  Even more astonishing was that their expanded commission rule now allows for taxpayer money to go to special interest non-profit organizations as well, such as the NRA, Sierra Club and labor unions.

Luckily, voters will get the opportunity to put a stop to this nonsense.  A measure is now on the ballot this November that will ask voters if they want to continue to fork over their hard-earned money to political parties and special interest non-profits.

We are hopeful the answer will be a resounding YES to Stop Taxpayer Money going to Political Parties.

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