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Brewer: Long-term solution to Arizona’s economic woes depends on jobs

While a temporary sales tax increase would help address Arizona's budget crisis, a long-term solution will depend on attracting firms that offer high-paying jobs, Gov. Jan Brewer told business leaders Nov. 4. "Our future pivots on our ability to create jobs, better jobs, permanent jobs and more of them," Brewer said at a Greater Phoenix Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

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Department of Revenue puts layoff plan on hold

Gambling that Arizona lawmakers will approve its funding in time, the state tax collection agency is shelving plans to lay off more than half its staff early this month. After Gov. Jan Brewer's vetoed some of the Department of Revenue's funding in September to kill an unrelated provision of the same bill, Director Gale Garriott said the department would probably have to lay off 450 of its 710 workers in November.

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Budget fix pitched to GOP lawmakers (access required)

The budget fix being shopped to Republican lawmakers would erase a little more than a quarter of the estimated $2 billion deficit and include about $300 million in permanent spending cuts. House Majority Whip Andy Tobin said the deal Republican leaders have reached with Republican Gov. Jan Brewer would include $140 million in cuts to K-12 education and $140 million in cuts to ADES.

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Wishful thinking interrupted by budget reality (access required)

JLBC has singled out three budget provisions that wouldn't live up to their billing: a plan to save $50 million due to reduced fraud in the health care system; deals to privatize nine of the 10 state prisons; and a plan to raise $735 million by selling dozens of state buildings, then leasing them back. But there's more.

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Lottery renewal needed before state can borrow (access required)

The odds of winning the Arizona Lottery's big jackpot are about one in 175 million. The odds that lawmakers will sell off future lottery revenues for a quick cash infusion are exponentially better. As lawmakers ponder how to fix a fiscal 2011 budget deficit that is expected to top $2 billion, many are viewing lottery securitization as a last resort whose time has come.

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No moratorium, Senate to hear bills early in session (access required)

The Senate is going to hear bills when session starts, Senate President Bob Burns said Oct. 29. This is a departure from the strategy the Senate leadership adopted during the most recent regular session, when a moratorium on hearing non-budget bills was used so lawmakers could direct all their energy to solving the state's record-breaking budget deficit.

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Arizona leaders to tackle budget at 95th Town Hall at Grand Canyon

More than 100 Arizona leaders will meet in Grand Canyon Village on Nov. 1-4, as part of the 95th Arizona Town Hall meeting, focusing on the fiscal problems of the state. The meeting, entitled "Riding the Fiscal Roller Coaster: Government Revenue in Arizona," is hosted by the Arizona Town Hall nonprofit organization, which organizes the event biannually.

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