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State cash reserves should last through September (access required)

The state's cash reserves are dwindling fast, but Arizona should be able to keep paying its bills through the end of September. If no budget is in place by the start of October, however, the state will likely have to borrow from the private sector for the first time in memory, if not the state's history.

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Proposed sales tax hike blocks budget deal (access required)

With the clock ticking, lawmakers and the governor held a series of closed-door meetings leading up to the Sept. 5 deadline for action on a slate of budget bills. But the negotiations did not produce the outcome Gov. Jan Brewer had desired - a bipartisan coalition of support for a special election to temporarily raise the sales tax to help balance the budget.

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Credit unions help strapped state employees

As state employees across the country are being hammered by layoffs, pay cuts and forced unpaid days off, some state employees' credit unions are stepping in to help workers get through these tough times. Services include a variety of loan programs and even one Web site for recession and job-related tips.

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Ariz. official doesn’t have stance on texting ban

Arizona's highway safety director says he's not ready to say whether the state should ban texting while driving. Meeting in Georgia, the Governors Highway Safety Association reversed itself and came out for a texting ban. The group cited a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study that found drivers who are texting increase the risk of a crash or near-crash by 23 times.

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DPS relies on loans; money needed by Sept. 11 (access required)

In two weeks, Highway Patrol cars could be sitting empty in government parking lots and the state crime lab could be bereft of forensic criminologists if Gov. Jan Brewer doesn't sign a budget bill nearly identical to one she vetoed nearly two months ago.

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GAO report faults Border Patrol on checkpoints

A draft government study found the Border Patrol isn't measuring how its checkpoints along the border affect the quality of life in surrounding communities. One of the findings of a Government Accountability Office draft report was that the Border Patrol hasn't documented how many agents it needs to confront smugglers sneaking around a proposed permanent checkpoint on Interstate 19 in southern Arizona.

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