The oddest thing in Gov. Ducey's State of the State Address Monday was what was missing: a discussion of sentencing reform. On the morning of his address, the banner headline across the Star's
front page was "Sentencing among top priorities for Ducey." On the same day, the Republic listed sentencing reform as one of the nine things to watch for in the address. But when it came time to discuss crime, Ducey talked about what a wonderful job we're doing seizing drugs at the border and what we can do to help deal with drug addiction. Nothing about prisons or sentencing. Odd.
But the weirdest thing in the address was Ducey's focus on Uber, Lyft and the "Sharing economy."
Arizona should be to the Sharing Economy, what Texas is to Oil and what Silicon Valley used to be to the tech industry.
Moments ago, I signed an executive order creating the Governor’s Council on the Sharing Economy.
Its mission: Stop shackling innovation, and instead – put the cuffs on out-of-touch regulators.
I want startups in the Sharing Economy to know: California may not want you, but Arizona does.
Does Ducey imagine Arizona will be the new Share-icon Valley? (Maybe Gigistan would be a better name). Does he see us luring Uber, Lyft and Airbnb away from California, which would create a hub for other shared economy startups? Or did he give the gig-economy companies a shout-out because they're pouring money into his campaign and his supporters' dark money war chests? Ducey thought the topic was so important, he even used a few moments of his precious SOS real estate to get specific about the Phoenix airport.
More than 40 million passengers enter our state through Sky Harbor International Airport every year. But you can’t order an Uber or Lyft because unelected bureaucrats at city hall are protecting special interests.
Sky Harbor may be a city airport, but it’s an Arizona vital resource used by citizens all over the state, and our economy is dependent on its success. I call on Phoenix city government to lift these unnecessary regulations immediately.
As I was pondering the weirdness of Ducey devoting so much time to such a small economic nitch, trying to figure out what was going on, I got the answer in an op ed published Wednesday. This is all part of Ducey's ongoing quest to turn Arizona into the Goldwater Republic. He took a big step in that direction by making Clint Bolick, Goldwater's high profile constitutional lawyer, our latest Supreme Court Justice. Now this.
Jon Riches, the director of national litigation at the Goldwater Institute, wrote the op ed: Businesses are a burden? Our bill would make government prove it
, which begins,
In his State of the State address on Monday, Gov. Doug Ducey boldly quoted Barry Goldwater’s famous line, “My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them.”
The governor invoked the spirit of Goldwater to identify solutions to the problem of government regulations that hurt businesses and job seekers. In so doing, the governor threw down the gauntlet to legislative leaders, “Send me legislation to allow agencies to wipe (harmful regulations) out, easier and faster. And I’ll sign it.”
The Right to Earn a Living Act, crafted by the Goldwater Institute and sponsored by Rep. Warren Petersen, is precisely that legislation.
Bingo! I think we have a winner. The sharing economy is the tip of the spear Ducey and the Goldwater Institute want to use to kill state government regulation, or at least seriously wound it. The Goldwater/Petersen bill limits the regulation of business to what is absolutely necessary to preserve the health, safety and welfare of the public. If anyone thinks a regulation is outside those parameters, they can challenge it. And they don't have to prove they're right. The government has to prove they're wrong, prove that the regulation is necessary.
The legislation is based on a simple premise: The burden of proving that government restrictions on free enterprise are excessive should not be placed on those who want to earn an honest living; instead, government should bear the burden of justifying its restrictions.
If the bill passes, expect an avalanche of challenges to regulations, some reasonable, some far fetched. But no matter the legitimacy of the challenge, the government bureaucracy will have the Herculean task of going through every last one of them, one by one, and defending its decisions to keep or kill each regulation. And there's no reason the regulations the government affirms can't be challenged again and again and again. The bureaucracy will be buried under the avalanche, unable to dig itself out, and of course it will be criticized for stalling, which will be one more reason to wipe more and more of those free-enterprise-killing regulations off the books.
Arizona is already known as the "Wild West of charter schools." If Ducey and Goldwater get their way, we'll be the Wild West of, well, just about everything. Strap on your six shooters, buckaroos, it's gonna be a wild ride.