These Critical Court Battles Could Have Huge Implications for Your Freedoms

These Critical Court Battles Could Have Huge Implications for Your Freedoms

The fight against the left to protect our freedoms isn’t just happening at the legislature and ballot box. Our courtrooms are currently filled with cases working their way through the process, each involving critical issues that will impact the future of our state and country.

Given the plethora of lawsuits, it is difficult even for the most die-hard activist or informed citizen to keep track of what is going on. For many it seems as if new lawsuits are being announced every day, with injunctions and decisions raining down from all over the country.

To help make sense of some of these court battles, the Club has compiled a litigation update on several lawsuits, including cases involving mask and vaccine mandates, Critical Race Theory, Proposition 208, referendums over the recently enacted tax cuts, and the Biden vaccine mandate.

Proposition 208

Perhaps one of the best court outcomes from the past few months is that Proposition 208 is on its deathbed. Earlier this year, the Arizona Supreme Court decided that Prop 208 is unconstitutional. The drafters of the initiative, despite being warned by Legislative Council, attempted to statutorily exempt their tax hike from a constitutional expenditure limitation. That doesn’t work. The decision has effectively killed 208, but it isn’t six feet under quite yet – the Supreme Court has sent the case back to the trial court for a facts and findings hearing with the directive that if it is found that monies from the 208 tax hike would cause the state to exceed the expenditure limitation (it will) it must be struck down entirely. The hearing is scheduled for the beginning of January, the same time the legislature begins its new session.

Tax Cut Referendum

With a record budget surplus and the threat of Prop 208 in mind, Republicans passed a historic tax cut package that would benefit all Arizonans. But once it was passed, democrats immediately began collecting signatures to refer them to the ballot – which would halt implementation and risk voter protecting our tax code.

In response, the Club immediately filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of referring tax policy to the ballot at all. Though voters have reserved the power to refer legislation to the ballot, there are exceptions to this power – one being that anything that relates to the support and maintenance of the state cannot be referred. Our lawsuit argues that changes in the tax code do directly relate to the support and maintenance of the state.

At this point, the campaign has failed to get a sufficient number of signatures for two of the three aspects of the tax cut package, but they did submit more than enough signatures for the portion that would phase down the income tax to a single, flat rate of 2.5%. The Club immediately began a challenge to these signatures and filed an additional lawsuit in early October. Both of these cases are still ongoing and likely will not be fully decided for months, lingering into the legislative session.

Budget Bill Litigation

The Arizona constitution limits the legislature to passing bills pertaining to only one subject and where the provisions of the bill are reflected in the title. It has been a long practice for the legislature to use Budget Reconciliation Bills (BRBs) to include some policy changes. This session, that’s where many of the conservative wins were enshrined. This includes a ban on mask and vaccine mandates, a ban on CRT in schools, and a host of election integrity provisions.

Unfortunately, the court unanimously ruled that some of the provisions challenged were not reflected in the title, and that the budget bill containing the election integrity provisions did not pertain to only one subject. Therefore, all of these provisions were struck down – not because of the constitutionality of any of the specific provisions, but because of the process in which they were enacted.

Vaccine Mandates – 5th circuit ruling: A win

Perhaps one of the best rulings for conservatives came out just a week ago, temporarily stopping the implementation of Biden’s vaccine mandate. On the mandate, the 5th Circuit wrote, “its promulgation grossly exceeds OSHA’s statutory authority” and that it passing constitutional muster would be a “dubious assumption.” Further, on the details of the mandate, the court wrote, “rather than a delicately handled scalpel, the Mandate is a one-size fits-all sledgehammer.” The court issued a stay barring OSHA from taking any further steps to enforce the mandate. There are many other lawsuits around the country on the mandate, and new decisions could come out, but in the meantime, OSHA has announced it will not implement its mandate.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

Join our FREE Grassroots Action List to stay up to date on the latest battles against big government and how YOU can help influence crucial bills at the Arizona State Legislature.

Campaign Finance Report Shows Referendum Against Tax Cuts Was Purchased by Out-of-State Special Interest Groups

Campaign Finance Report Shows Referendum Against Tax Cuts Was Purchased by Out-of-State Special Interest Groups

Invest in Arizona wants you to believe that they ran a grassroots campaign. But that notion is absurd. And you don’t need to look very far to find out.

Recently, the political committee filed its campaign finance report. And lo and behold, what does it show? That the National Education Association (NEA) and Stand for Children, two out-of-state special interest groups, purchased the referendum against historic tax cuts that Republicans delivered earlier this year.

Just look at the numbers. In Quarter 3, Invest in Arizona received just over $16,000 from individual donors. Now, compare that to the nearly $2.4 million it received from the NEA and the more than $2.3 million it received in cash, goods, and services from Stand for Children.

That’s more than $4.5 million—basically their entire budget—with the overwhelming majority spent on gathering signatures.

So much for “grassroots,” eh?

Of course, Stand for Children is trying to claim that its money came from its Phoenix office. But these groups can’t be trusted. In 2020, Stand for Children was funding Invest in Ed from its headquarters in Portland, Oregon, which the Club pointed out here and here. But now we’re supposed to believe that its Phoenix office miraculously developed the ability to start writing 7-figure checks to fund Invest in Arizona?

Either the Phoenix chapter became a fundraising behemoth overnight, or more than likely, the Portland headquarters has been laundering their money to a Phoenix address..

But that’s not even the worst part.

In order to buy their way onto the ballot, these out-of-state special interest groups flooded the streets with hundreds of paid circulators to gather signatures. And you probably won’t be surprised to find out that many of them weren’t following the law. Some failed to fully and properly register with the Secretary of State. Some did not correctly disclose their assigned circulator registration numbers. And some were felons.

That’s right. Invest in Arizona used convicted felons whose civil rights had not been fully restored to circulate its ballot measure.

For all these reasons, the signatures they gathered illegally should be void. That’s why the Arizona Free Enterprise Club filed a lawsuit last week to challenge the validity of over half the signatures Invest in Arizona submitted to the Secretary of State.

It’s clear that these groups are upset that Prop 208 was put on its deathbed by the Arizona Supreme Court back in August. And now, they want to stick it to the people of Arizona by trying to stop them from receiving some much-needed tax relief.

Invest in Arizona is making a farce of the referendum process. It was never intended to be used by Washington, D.C. teachers’ unions that disapprove of the decisions made by Arizona lawmakers. And while the fate of Invest in Arizona’s astroturf referendum is still unclear, the Club will not be deterred from fighting back against out-of-state special interest groups that parachute into our state trying to buy our ballot box.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

Join our FREE Grassroots Action List to stay up to date on the latest battles against big government and how YOU can help influence crucial bills at the Arizona State Legislature.

Backers of Prop 208 Are Trying to Stop Tax Cuts That Benefit All Arizonans

Backers of Prop 208 Are Trying to Stop Tax Cuts That Benefit All Arizonans

Arizona taxpayers have had good reason to celebrate over the past few months. Not only did Republicans deliver historic tax cuts earlier this year, but the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that Prop 208 is unconstitutional.

This should be a time of rejoicing for the people of Arizona who will get some much-needed relief while still trying to recover from COVID shutdowns.

But the backers of Prop 208 won’t give up. They are angry and upset that their unconstitutional tax hike was struck down. Now, their latest move is to target the $1.8 billion tax cut that would establish a flat tax and provide a tax cut to all Arizonans.

Last week, Invest in Arizona, a political committee sponsored by the Arizona Education Association and Stand for Children, submitted a referendum to put the historic tax cuts on the ballot for voters to decide its fate.

And not surprisingly, this effort has a few similarities to last year’s Prop 208 campaign.

Let’s start with the signature collection effort, which was bought and paid for by the teachers’ union and Stand for Children. During the final weeks of their signature collection campaign, these two special interest groups flooded the streets with hundreds of paid circulators in an attempt to buy their way onto the ballot. In total, they employed 619 paid circulators, many of which likely have criminal records and were not properly registered with the Secretary of State.

Then, there’s the lies.

In the case of Prop 208, voters were consistently lied to about how the tax wouldn’t affect small businesses. But it did, which resulted in several small businesses leaving the state.

And the lies didn’t stop there. Prop 208 backers also said that the tax did not try to skirt the constitutional expenditure limitation. Thankfully, this lie ultimately doomed the measure in the Arizona Supreme Court.

Now, with this referendum, the lies continue.

Invest in Arizona is telling voters that the legislature cut education funding, which is blatantly false. Conservative leaders passed the historic $1.8 billion tax cut while spending a record high amount for education with hundreds of millions in new funding for K-12 and universities.

And to top it all off, Invest in Arizona is telling the people of Arizona that signing the referendum will restore over $1 billion in education funding. But this is a total lie! The referendum has nothing to do with education!

More than likely, this entire effort is just as unconstitutional as Prop 208. That’s why the Club filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of referring the tax cuts to the ballot. Right now, our case is currently awaiting a hearing in Superior Court, and we are optimistic that it has a high chance of success.

After all, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has decided to remain neutral, despite being named in the lawsuit. And Attorney General Mark Brnovich field a motion for leave, along with an amicus brief urging the court to rule in our favor.

But regardless of what happens at the Superior Court, we are committed to pursuing our legal challenge all the way to the Arizona Supreme Court, if necessary. And as the process for reviewing the validity of the referendum signatures begins, you can rest assured knowing that the Club will be watching to ensure that all illegal and fraudulent signatures are removed from the petition total.

Invest in Arizona may not like it, but the people have already spoken. The tax reform package was voted on and approved by 90 lawmakers who were duly elected by the people of Arizona. And it was signed by Governor Ducey who was also duly elected by the people or Arizona. That means it should be here to stay.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

Join our FREE Grassroots Action List to stay up to date on the latest battles against big government and how YOU can help influence crucial bills at the Arizona State Legislature.

The Democrats’ $3.5 Trillion Tax Bill Would Be Devastating for Our Country

The Democrats’ $3.5 Trillion Tax Bill Would Be Devastating for Our Country

What would you do with $3.5 trillion? It’s hard to even wrap your head around how big that number is, isn’t it?

But think of it this way. 1 billion seconds is equal to 30 years, which is around the length of a career. But 1 trillion seconds? That’s equal to 30,000 years, which is longer than human civilization!

It’s a ridiculously big number, and yet, our government regularly throws around trillions of dollars like it’s nothing. But someone is paying for it, and you can probably guess who that is. That’s why the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion tax bill is especially concerning.

But it’s not even just about the money. It’s what the Democrats are trying to ram through in this giant bill.

Every Liberal Cause You Can Think Of

Because this package is a budget reconciliation, it could pass through the Senate with a slim majority, meaning that not a single Republican would need to sign on. And this has Democrats licking their chops. Among the lowlights of this bill are:

    • A National Energy Tax. Democrats are looking for backdoor ways to tax American families and advance the Green New Deal, similar to what our Corporation Commission has been trying to do here in Arizona. Hidden within this $3.5 trillion bill is a “methane fee,” which would impose a new tax on natural gas. If it passes, families across the country should expect their monthly energy bills to rise with virtually no environmental benefit.
    • Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants. We currently have a crisis at the border with one Arizona sheriff fearing a “perfect storm.” And when Vice President Kamala Harris outlined the Biden administration’s amnesty plan on Univision, more than 7,000 immigrants from Honduras started making their way to the U.S. Imagine what would happen if this amnesty plan now becomes reality.
    • Universal Pre-K and Free Community College. This is just what we need, right? More government-funded education. It’s bad enough that public school districts turned their backs on parents and students during the COVID-19 pandemic. But as part of this bill, they’ll now take on universal pre-k, so they can start indoctrinating children even earlier. Factor in free community college, which basically expands high school to six years, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Largest Piece of Legislation Ever

Not only would this $3.5 trillion bill be the largest tax increase since 1968, but it would be the largest piece of legislation in the history of the world. So naturally, Nancy Pelosi and others from the Left are trying to rush it through Congress.

Thankfully, some Democrats are pushing back, including Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who’s concerned about such a high price tag—as well she should be.

The American people are still reeling from government shutdowns and other economic losses that occurred during the pandemic. And with our national debt currently sitting at $28.4 trillion, adding more to that debt would be dangerous.

Kyrsten Sinema and other moderate Democrats need to continue speaking up and oppose this tax bill. Because if it passes, it could destroy the United States as we know it.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

Join our FREE Grassroots Action List to stay up to date on the latest battles against big government and how YOU can help influence crucial bills at the Arizona State Legislature.

Prop 208 Ruling Destroys Narrative that K-12 Education is Underfunded

Prop 208 Ruling Destroys Narrative that K-12 Education is Underfunded

For over a decade, Arizona Democrats and the education lobby have been beating the same K-12 drum that our schools are underfunded, spending is at historic lows, and that the legislature refuses to invest more in K-12. And every establishment media outlet and so-called “investigative journalist” in Arizona have been more than happy to parrot this narrative for them. Most articles and opinion columns published by the Arizona Republic read more like repackaged press releases from the Arizona Education Association than anything resembling a real news story.

But unfortunately for the Democrats and their pals in the media, the recent Arizona Supreme Court decision on Prop 208 just blew their K-12 funding narrative into pieces. Under the court’s 6-1 decision, the majority ruled that any revenue generated from the Prop 208 income tax surcharge is not exempt from the constitutional K-12 expenditure cap, so if the tax hike would cause K-12 funding to exceed the cap, then the measure is unconstitutional.

This shouldn’t be a problem, right? According to the backers of Prop 208 and the Media, we haven’t been properly funding K-12 for decades.

Yet the lone dissent in the decision referred to the majority opinion as “almost certainly dooming the measure.” Dooming the measure? If Republican lawmakers have truly slashed education funding, if we haven’t been properly funding K-12 for decades, how could we be hitting a constitutional spending limit that hasn’t been reached since 2008?

That’s because everything the education establishment and the media has been telling you about K-12 funding levels in Arizona has been one big lie. Education spending in Arizona is at an all-time high, and we know this because we are hitting the K-12 constitutional spending cap.

The K-12 Constitutional Spending Cap Explained

In 1980, Arizona voters approved a series of constitutional tax and spending reforms at the ballot. These reforms were a bipartisan effort to address concerns of reckless spending and skyrocketing property tax increases throughout the state. One of those approved reforms was a limit on the amount K-12 school districts were allowed to spend.

This expenditure limitation is not determined by partisans at the legislature and cannot be manipulated so that politicians can hide how much funding they are providing to K-12. It’s an objective, formula-based spending cap calculated by nonpartisan bean counters on the Economic Estimates Commission consisting of a representative from the Department of Revenue and two other economists.

It’s calculated like this: the Commission takes the funding baseline from the 1979-1980 budget year, adjusts it every year for both student population growth and inflation, and then adds an additional 10% on top. In other words, the spending cap has been allowed to grow annually for 40 years to include both population growth and inflation, plus an additional 10%.

Additionally, this cap doesn’t include multiple funding sources that have been exempted from the cap. For example, the hundreds of millions coming from the Federal Government through the Covid spending packages do not apply toward the expenditure limitation. So when the cap is reached, Arizona taxpayers will know—based on an objective measurement—that K-12 spending is at a historic high.

The Economic Estimates Commission estimates that the education spending cap for FY 2022 will be just over $6 billion. Based on the recently enacted budget, we anticipate that Arizona will exceed the cap, which is why we expect Prop 208 to be ruled unconstitutional and struck down later this year.

Some may be asking: did the backers of Prop 208 know that their measure may trigger the education spending cap, thus tossing their measure into legal jeopardy? Perhaps they were believing their own press clippings about schools being underfunded?

This is the part that should make taxpayers’ blood boil. Not only did the education lobby know that 208 would trigger the expenditure limitation, but snuck language into their ballot measure to sidestep the cap by calling the tax surcharge revenue a “grant.”

That’s right—while they were selling the public on the myth that schools are underfunded and that we need to tax the “rich”, their lawyers concocted a legal strategy to sell judges on the idea that their tax is really a “grant” to avoid hitting a spending cap they knew we were going to hit.

Fortunately for taxpayers and small business owners, the Supreme Court saw through their scam and didn’t  come up with some sort of John Roberts-style legal reasoning to save the measure.

One would hope that the education left would have learned a hard lesson from this blunder, but don’t count on it. Instead, their strategy seems to be gaslighting the public into thinking the expenditure limitation is archaic because it was set in 1980. Spreading falsehoods is almost second nature to them. Remember, these are the same people that claimed 208  wasn’t a tax on small business, yet have turned around and sued over SB 1783 because it might prevent small business owners from paying the 208 tax.

Until now the left has believed they can promote false narratives, with the help of the media, about K-12 funding and get away with it. Not anymore – the jig is up, and the lies have been exposed. K-12 funding is at record high levels and because of that, the Arizona Supreme Court decision will likely sink Prop 208 and take this narrative down with it.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

Join our FREE Grassroots Action List to stay up to date on the latest battles against big government and how YOU can help influence crucial bills at the Arizona State Legislature.

The Arizona Supreme Court’s Ruling Against Prop 208 Is a Big Win for Taxpayers

The Arizona Supreme Court’s Ruling Against Prop 208 Is a Big Win for Taxpayers

Last week brought some great news! In an opinion authored by Chief Justice Brutinel, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that Proposition 208 is unconstitutional and remanded the case back to the trial court.

Now, it’s up to that court to determine whether the constitutional Education Expenditure Limit will be exceeded with Prop 208 monies. And with our state spending a record amount on K-12 education, we are nearly hitting it already—even without Prop 208 dollars.

This billion-dollar tax hike placed on the backs of Arizona’s small businesses will push us over. And that means the trial court must rule that Prop 208 is unconstitutional, killing it once and for all.

This is a big win for the State of Arizona and its taxpayers.

For months on end, Prop 208 voters were deceived. Every major funder, advocate, and organization behind the ill-conceived ballot initiative pushed the same narrative. They said that Prop 208 wouldn’t affect the Arizona economy or small businesses.

But with the passage of this disastrous piece of legislation, our state’s tax rate was raised dramatically to 8%, giving Arizona the ninth highest small business tax rate in the nation.

This wasn’t exactly the kick-off to the new year that small businesses were hoping for. And it even led some businesses—like Landmark Recovery which had been headquartered in Scottsdale—to leave the state.

But Prop 208 is now on its death bed. And once it’s officially struck down, Arizona’s economy will have dodged a bullet.

Of course, the Prop 208 crowd hasn’t given up. They are still actively collecting signatures on referendums to stop the historic tax reforms delivered by Arizona Republicans and signed by Governor Ducey at the end of June. And Invest in Arizona, a political committee sponsored by Arizona Education Association and Stand for Children, even filed a lawsuit against SB1783, which was passed to give tax relief to small business owners in our state.

Apparently, they don’t like the idea of providing $1.8 billion in tax relief to the people of Arizona—or giving every Arizona taxpayer a cut.

But what groups like Invest in Arizona don’t understand is that our state is currently sitting pretty, thanks to a $4 billion surplus. And Arizona taxpayers deserve a break, which is why the Arizona Free Enterprise Club and the Goldwater Institute have asked to intervene in Invest in Arizona’s lawsuit.

And it’s also why The Club filed a lawsuit of our own last month against Invest in Arizona’s tax cut referendums.

The time to cut taxes is now. It is undeniable that small businesses were hit hardest by the COVID shutdowns. And many of them are still trying to dig themselves out of the wreckage.

Invest in Arizona and anyone else who was involved in drafting Prop 208 need to accept the fact that this initiative is unconstitutional. The Arizona Supreme Court recognized that last week. And now the trial courts should do the same.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

Join our FREE Grassroots Action List to stay up to date on the latest battles against big government and how YOU can help influence crucial bills at the Arizona State Legislature.