Phoenix, AZ – State senators approved a plan Thursday to cut spending and sweep money from special funds in a bid to close a 1-point-6 billion dollar hole in the budget. But some funds got better treatment than others.
The reason is purely politics. Rep. Jerry Weiers said he wouldn't vote for the plan unless his pet fund was protected -- one that benefits users of off-road vehicles trails. He said it wouldn't be fair to take the money.
Phoenix, AZ – Lawmakers convene this morning in special session. But the big issues they were supposed to consider are gone.
One involved the push by Gov. Jan Brewer to ask voters for a temporary one-cent hike in the state sales tax to help balance the budget. The other dealt with a separate ballot measure to let lawmakers raid funds that belong to programs previously approved by voters. But House Speaker Kirk Adams said Wednesday a couple of things went wrong.
Phoenix, AZ – The state finally got some really good news today about the economy. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports.
New figures from the state Department of Commerce show the jobless rate dropped four tenths of a point between October and November, to 8.9 percent. That is the first time since June the rate has been below 9 percent. But Aruna Murthy, the agency's director of economic analysis, said she's not ready to declare that the worst is over.
Phoenix, AZ – State lawmakers took the first steps this afternoon to making further budget adjustments -- including several that could end up closing all state parks. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports.
Phoenix, AZ – Plans for a special session this coming week have hit a snag. And Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports the problem is not partisan.
There appears to be the votes in both the House and Senate to put a measure on the ballot for a temporary hike in the state sales tax. That has been a cornerstone of the plan by Gov. Jan Brewer to deal with the current budget shortfall as well as deficits for the next few years.
Phoenix, AZ – Some new figures today show that while interest in gambling may be down, it's hardly gone away.
Economist Alan Meister estimates that tribes in Arizona had gross gaming revenues of about $1.9 billion last year. That's about 6 percent less than the year before. Meister said that drop is not surprising.
Phoenix, AZ – Governor Jan Brewer went to Washington Tuesday, at least in part to convince Congress to reject efforts to enact health care reform at the expense of states.
Brewer said the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state's Medicaid program, already provides coverage for 1.3 million residents below the federal poverty level, about $18,000 a year for a family of three.
Phoenix, AZ – State and university employees could wind up with I-O-Us in their pay envelopes in February instead of checks. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer explains why.
It's no secret that, even with the budget fixes last month, the state is still running $1.6 billion in the red. That's largely due to sales tax collections coming in at rates far below last year as consumers keep their purses and wallet closed.