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Author Archives: Caitlin Coakley Beckner

Q&A with House Speaker Andy Tobin (access required)

The timing for Andy Tobin’s ascension to speaker of the House was pretty favorable. The state is beginning to see an uptick in revenues due to a recovering economy, so the battle over the budget is likely to be less adversarial this session than it was in previous years.

But Tobin cautions against anyone getting the impression that the state has money to burn. As long as the state has debt to pay off, he said he doesn’t think that the unexpected revenue should be seen as a surplus.

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Q&A with House Minority Leader Chad Campbell (access required)

It hasn’t been a banner past couple years for the Democrats. Faced with a Republican supermajority, their power at the Legislature has been limited.

Assessing this year’s session, House Minority Leader Chad Campbell has a similarly dim outlook. Democrats are still outnumbered two-to-one, and a looming election may mean lawmakers focus on more ideological issues. But there are some promising signs: new leadership in the House and Senate, plus some unexpected money for the state.

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Lawmakers, group want to hand big tax break to businesses (access required)

Businesses planning on purchasing new machinery in 2013 or later may get some tax relief under a referendum at the state Legislature. HCR 2009, sponsored by Rep. Jack Harper, R-Surprise, and developed by the Arizona chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses would exempt the first $2.4 million of new equipment or machinery purchased after 2013 from the business personal property tax. Currently, the exemption is $68,079.

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Tobin criticizes media, Dems in Chamber speech (access required)

The 2011 session may be over, but some Republicans are still holding a grudge over the criticism to which they say they were subjected. House Speaker Andy Tobin chastised the media and Democrats in the Legislature, arguing that Republicans made the tough decisions to cut the budget and pass the Arizona Competitiveness Package amid “abuse” from the press and the minority party.

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Gray ends congressional bid, endorses Salmon (access required)

Former state Senate Majority Leader Chuck Gray announced today that he has withdrawn from the race rather than challenge the three other candidates for the seat. With Gray out, the race remains between former state House Speaker Kirk Adams, former Congressman Matt Salmon and Arizona Air National Guard Capt. Travis Grantham.

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Tucson lawmaker considers bill to target ‘flash robs’ (access required)

As videos go viral of teenagers streaming in and out of stores and grabbing merchandise off shelves, Rep. Terri Proud is working on legislation to bring conspiracy laws into the technology age. The Tucson Republican plans to introduce a bill to make it a felony to use electronic communication to plan or organize crimes.

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