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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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The way out of Arizona’s economic mess

Improving Arizona's job-creating climate is the best long-term strategy for dealing with the state's fiscal woes. There is ferocious competition among states to attract new jobs. One timely story illustrates this point: At a U.S./China economic cooperation event the Arizona Chamber sponsored last week, we heard from other states about the attractiveness of their economic climate.

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Health insurance options are available

I just wanted to make a comment out of pure frustration. I keep reading/hearing from the president to Rep. Harry Mitchell and to other so-called experts of health care reform about people losing coverage when their COBRA ends.

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Don’t use tax dollars to fund abortions

No matter what your position is on the broad issue of health reform, it seems obvious that the health care bill should help protect the innocent and the helpless. And that will require language that forbids the government from covering abortions or paying for them.

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Lawmakers not playing with a full deck

Well, at least one state legislator finally got it right. Sen. John Nelson, a Republican from Litchfield Park, commenting on coping with the state budget debacle, was quoted in the Arizona Capitol Times saying, "It's almost like playing poker and not playing with a full deck."

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