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Author Archives: Jim Small

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Budget gap grows as result of ‘unrealized savings’ (access required)

Legislative budget analysts said last week that $165 million of the state budget deficit is due to "potential unrealized budget savings" that were assumed as part of the spending plan, which was designed to bridge a $3 billion shortfall. In short, several savings measures won't work as planned.

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Gambling pitched as Arizona’s budget salvation (access required)

The struggling Arizona racing industry is hoping it can sell lawmakers on a proposal to help racetracks stay open and give the state hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue. But the idea faces resistance on several fronts, as it would expand gambling by allowing "racinos" and by lifting limits on tribal casinos.

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Budget deficit now estimated at $2 billion

Legislative budget analysts said tax collections in the first quarter of the fiscal year have been so sluggish that they have revised revenue projections downward. Now, the deficit for fiscal 2010 is $2 billion. In order for the state to collect the $7.1 billion it anticipated this year, revenues would have to grow by nearly 1 percent from the prior year. However, collections are down 16 percent after the first three months.

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AHCCCS reports it might have to eliminate KidsCare (access required)

Lawmakers this year eliminated a health care program for middle-class parents, but now the state-run health insurance program for children is on the chopping block. The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System has reported it would have to eliminate the KidsCare program if it is required to trim 15 percent of its budget in the 2010 fiscal year.

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Vanderpool wants to keep leading DPS (access required)

Roger Vanderpool hopes his performance as director of the state's largest police force will speak louder than his political history - two elections as Pinal County Sheriff as a Democrat and an appointment to his current post by a Democratic governor - when Arizona's Republican governor decides who will lead the department for the next five years.

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Thrasher to run again for D-10 House seat

A North Phoenix music teacher is hoping to return to the Legislature in 2011 and avenge a narrow defeat in last year's election. Jackie Thrasher, who one term served in the House before being defeated in last fall's election, announced Oct. 15 that she is running for the House next year.

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Bare-bones Revenue Department would eliminate audits (access required)

An unintended consequence of a veto last month means the state agency tasked with collecting taxes is on the verge of laying off more than half of its staff, barring a budget fix to allow access to all of the money lawmakers gave it earlier this year. Anthony Forschino, the agency's assistant director, said the layoffs would still allow the Department of Revenue to function, but in a bare-bones manner.

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