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‘Hum Dinger’ is no Willcox historical treasure

I am writing to complain about the article/photograph of the motorized railcar shown in the "Times Past" column in the Feb. 13, 2009, issue of the Arizona Capitol Times. The article states the "Hum Dinger" was used by the Mascot and Western Railroad that ran between Willcox and Dos Cabezas, Ariz., in the 1920s. The photograph included with the article is incorrect.

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Redistricting involves competitive districts and Voting Rights Act

Arizona's legislative districts map received its final OK from the Arizona Supreme Court in May 2009 - eight years after the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission started the mapping process. The Supreme Court decided primarily in the commission's favor, citing some procedural errors, but declining to order a new map. Recent news articles, including an analysis in the Arizona Capitol Times, have speculated about the ruling's effect on the work of the next redistricting commission.

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No surprise that poll shows McCain out of touch

It comes as no surprise to me that a Rasmussen poll just released shows that 61 percent of Arizona Republicans think John McCain is out of touch with the Republican Party. As I campaign across Arizona, I'm finding a lot of discontent with McCain among the party base.

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Time to re-examine open-space goals

During the boom times, there was great concern that development would overrun valuable natural areas. Just as the housing market became exaggerated by speculation, so did our plans to preserve open space. Our preservation goals disproportionately targeted state trust land for preservation. Supporters assumed trust land laws would be changed to allow preservation of trust land at little cost.

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Budgeting in the public interest

The old adage: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," certainly isn't applicable to Arizona's budget. The state's budget and budget process is broken and needs some serious fixing. While elected officials and political pundits will no doubt continue to debate and disagree on whether to cut expenses and/or raise revenues, a more transparent budget and budget process is in the public's interest and should be embraced by all decision makers.

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Tax break available on auto purchases

The "Cash for Clunkers" program for new cars may have ended, but the IRS wants to remind taxpayers about another special federal tax deduction available that can help you save money, in some cases hundreds of dollars, on auto purchases. This tax break will allow people who buy a new vehicle in 2009 to deduct the sales and excise taxes they pay when they file their tax return next year. The tax deduction is available on the 2009 federal tax return even for those who claim the standard deduction.

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County has obligated all stimulus funds for road projects

There are some recent news stories about Maricopa County and stimulus funds that are misleading and need to be clarified. Recent reports state "officials in Maricopa County have failed to obligate nearly all of its $105 million in stimulus money for road projects." The $105 million is the total provided for all 29 local governments in the Valley.

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‘Obamacare’ means more big government

President Obama has achieved the impossible. On Sept. 9, Obama went before the American people and achieved something even I thought was impossible. Obamacare 2.0 has more big government than Version 1.0. The voters of southern Arizona should be cautious. Let's analyze a few aspects of the repackaged Obamacare.

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Correction to health care commentary

I recently authored an editorial titled, "Affordable universal coverage achievable" (Arizona Capitol Times, Sept. 11). In the article, I incorrectly cited that "20 percent of Americans under 65 own Health Insurance Accounts (HSAs)." I apologize for the editorial error and wish to issue a correction to that point. Actually, nearly 150,000 Arizonans, or about 5 percent of those with private insurance own an HSA - and not 20 percent as I wrote about in my editorial.

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Arizona needs a more diversified economy to avoid future plunges

The worst economic recession since the Great Depression has hit a three-state area known for its population growth - Arizona, Nevada and southern California - harder than the rest of the country. This region - the "Economic Bermuda Triangle" of Maricopa County; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Riverside, California - led the nation in the pace of job losses and housing foreclosures, the two measures by which consumers view the health of the economy.

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