Help Improve Arizona

December 18, 2016

Can 200 people give $200 each to take GCI one step closer to full-time?

Donate Today GCIThe Grand Canyon Institute began five years ago–we were a baby then–but we’re ready to grow up.  Help us do that by donating today (it’s tax deductible).

Two hundred people giving GCI $200 would make a huge impact on what’s already the most efficient think thank in the United States.  You’ll see why.

GCI’s goal is to raise enough money to employ its Research Director full-time, so we can respond faster to policy issues and expand our independent, nonpartisan research on economic and fiscal policy issues in Arizona–and as debates regarding federal issues begin next year, GCI would like to be there to evaluate how they might impact Arizona and suggest the best ways forward.

While the Koch Brothers have showered millions of dollars on an Economic Liberty center at ASU, consider some of the things we’ve accomplished in just over the last year without a full-time employee.

1. Tax Revenue: GCI developed the first independent estimate of tax revenue from the Marijuana Initiative in August 2015. The JLBC estimate in June 2016 was largely consistent with ours.  (GCI did not take a position on the initiative).  Read the report here.

Education Funding:  GCI provided an independent analysis of Prop. 123, the Arizona Education Finance Amendment, emphasizing it as an important first-step, not final step, and showing the impact of two decades of cuts to K-12 funding.  Read the report here.

3. Charter Schools: Jointly with Jim Hall of Arizonans for Charter School Accountability, we issued a report in February noting that administrative costs of charter schools were more than double what traditional public schools were and that the greatest offenders were the large corporate charters–not small operations.  We called and will continue to call for greater financial accountability for tax dollars–as current law allows many unethical practices to be completely legal. Read the report here.

4. Tax Dollars to Private Schools: This is the season of tax credits–But the original intent of tax credits was to redirect tax dollars to private schools that have no accountability at all in terms of finances or curriculum. The public school and charitable tax credits were the part that was used to mask the private school funding motivation.  So how much does it cost to put a student at tax payer expense into private school?  Don’t be fooled by anyone who says it costs less.  Private school enrollment hasn’t been growing despite the tax credits. The Grand Canyon Institute estimated it costs taxpayers $10,000 for every added private school student, significantly more than what we pay for the students in public schools. Read the report here.

5. KidsCare: GCI added its research to the wonderful advocacy groups like Children’s Action Alliance that had joined with Representative Regina Cobb to call for the restoration of KidsCare.  GCI issued a report that showed how improvements in child health led to small increases in high school and college graduates, which generates added economic benefits and lower costs to government–So the children benefit and so does the government.  We estimated that KidsCare restoration would give insurance to 10,000 kids who currently had no coverage at all  And we noted since the federal government is currently paying 100% of the cost of KidsCare that via the multiplier effect and added taxes paid from it–the state would even make a little money on the deal. Read the report here.

6. Education investments pay off economically:  GCI found across the 50 states strong positive correlations between economic performance and 8th grade National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores, high school graduation rates, and the growth in the percent of adults with an associate degree or higher.  What didn’t correlate? Business Climate Indices.  Read the report and you’ll find out what embarrassing things the business climate indices were more likely to correlate with.  And unfortunately–in our ranking of economic performance, Arizona came in last. Read the report here.

7. Raising Arizona’s Minimum Wage under Prop. 206: Finally, GCI released an independent evaluation of Prop. 206, the initiative to raise the minimum wage (GCI did not take a position on the initiative).  We looked at who would gain, the possible amount of jobs that could be lost and how much prices might change. We found nearly 800,000 Arizonans would see a raise in their hourly income and jobs losses could be anywhere from negligible to around 26,000 with 13,000 being the most likely amount.  Unlike the opponents of Prop. 206, we emphasized both the gains and benefits and the losses–but our loss estimate was quite consistent with the one that the Chamber touted. Read the report here.

Do you want an Arizona that wisely invests for its future? That values the full potential of children? Who calls out wasteful policies?

How important is it that studies like those conducted by GCI continue to be produced and disseminated to inform policymakers and the public debate?

Donate Today GCISo please step up and be one of those 200 people who gives $200 today to the Grand Canyon Institute.  Give more if you can afford to do so, and less if $200 is beyond your budget.

As a 501(c)3 nonprofit your contribution to GCI is tax deductible.

Donate Today!

Thank you!

Together we can make a difference in Arizona.