Goldwater Institute Again Twists Facts; Does Huge Disservice to State, Voters and Arizona Icon

April 19, 2010

PHOENIX – With ballots for the May 18th Proposition 100 election set to hit mailboxes this week, a self-proclaimed “government watchdog” group has again twisted the facts, this time with a campaign hit piece/fundraising ploy that’s disingenuous at best – and ablaze with political cynicism at its worst.

The Goldwater Institute’s campaign ad, posted to YouTube and embedded in an email asking recipients “to make a tax-deductible contribution” to the group, accuses Arizona lawmakers of “lying” about the extent of cuts made in state spending – while ignoring the more than $2.2 billion in permanent cuts the Brewer Administration and Legislature have made in the past year-plus.

“When you start throwing around words like ‘lying,’ you’d better not mislead people yourself,” said Pat Quinn, co-chairman of the YES ON 100 campaign. “And to use the YES ON 100 campaign and the need to protect Arizona’s schools, neighborhoods and struggling citizens to raise money for your own cause? That sort of cynicism speaks for itself.”

The misleading ad comes only a few weeks after another Goldwater hit piece: A flawed “study” that mistakenly alleged passage of Proposition 100 would cost 14,400 private sector jobs. A subsequent study by economic researchers at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management exploded that document, finding that the passage of Prop 100 would instead save more than 13,000 jobs and preserve more than $440 million in federal matching funds for Arizona.

"It’s disappointing to see an institute that bears such an iconic name distorting the truth at a time when the state is in crisis,” said Diane McCarthy, the YES On 100 treasurer who campaigned beside Sen. Barry Goldwater toward the end of his storied career. “Barry always fought for smaller government, but he never would have abandoned schools, neighborhoods and the state's safety net in a moment of critical need."

The institute’s newest ad uses glaring headlines and hyper-dramatic music to accuse Arizona lawmakers of continued wasteful spending. The ad’s rolling list of “waste,” however, totals a mere $9.6 million – or about a one-tenth of a percentage point of the state’s FY10 General Fund budget.

To put that miniscule figure in even more specific context, Goldwater’s alleged “waste” represents approximately 1 percent of the revenue predicted to be raised by Proposition 100, a three-year, penny increase to the state sales tax whose revenue has been designated by law to fund education, public safety and health care.

And Goldwater’s list represents about 0.004 percent of the $2.2 billion in spending cuts already enacted by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and the state Legislature.

“Based on Goldwater’s math, they only have another $990 million to go to make the sort of difference Proposition 100 will make,” said Quinn. “Heck, they barely found a rounding error in the grand scheme of the state budget.”

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