The beginning of every calendar year marks a chance for a fresh start and a renewed commitment to goals – whether to lose ten pounds, improve our time management skills, or increase our civic involvement.

Likewise, when state and local governments close the book on one year, they are given an opportunity to aim for better performance in the year ahead. It is in that spirit that the Goldwater Institute recently released “100 Ideas for 100 Days,” a compilation of action ideas based on the center’s research throughout the past year.

According to the Goldwater Institute, the 100 Ideas report is designed so that “policymakers at every level of government can enter 2011 with a bundle of suggestions to increase the state’s prosperity and expand freedom.”

The strategies listed in the downloadable report are divided into categories, including Commerce & Economic Development; Education; Finance Ways & Means; Public Employees Retirement & Entitlement Reform; and Transportation & Infrastructure, to name a few.

What makes this report so unique is that the many of the action ideas are accompanied by a link to supporting research, and/or a contact person at the Institute.

The Goldwater Institute, founded in 1988, is a government watchdog organization. Its educational mission is to help policymakers and citizens better understand the consequences of government policies through policy research, data, and expert commentary. While its research and policy recommendations focus primarily on Arizona government, many – including the 100 Ideas report – carry national relevance.

A Sampling of Ideas from the Goldwater Institute

Listed below are examples of the types of strategies or recommendations included in the Goldwater Institute’s 100 Ideas for 100 Days report. A full copy of the report is available for download via this link.

  • Promote fiscal responsibility and minimize exposure to securities fraud litigation by prohibiting cities from borrowing money for anything other than spending on core governmental functions.
  • Enforce fiscal responsibility by mandating “managed competition,” requiring government agencies to allow both private businesses and government departments to compete to furnish public services.
  • Require more accurate evaluations of government retirement funds by basing estimates of unfunded liabilities on expected investment rates of return that are adjusted for longterm risks.
  • Pursue a “Transparency in Education Spending Act” that would require the Arizona Department of Education to disclose comprehensive figures on public education spending, require an independent body such as the Office of the Auditor General to confirm the total amount of federal, state, and local spending on child care, preschool and kindergarten programs in Arizona, and assess the impact of all current expenditures on student learning.
  • Require public university students who need remedial education to receive it at less-expensive community colleges.
  • Thin out traffic congestion by converting high-occupancy vehicle lanes into high-occupancy toll lanes, allowing people to pay to drive in the HOV lanes.