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AZ Chamber pushes for overhaul of state-retirement system (access required)

Despite a fairly positive report on the stability of the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS) earlier this year, a major business group with no direct involvement in the fund is expressing serious concern.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, none of whose member firms has employees enrolled in a public pension plan, is calling for a major overhaul of ASRS to radically change how benefits are calculated for future retirees.

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Arts education: The true picture (access required)

Most K-12 schools in Arizona offer students some sort of arts instruction, but the vast majority of those schools spend less than $1 per student per year in supporting those classes, according to a report released in July.

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Recovery outlook gloomy for home construction (access required)

Stimulating Arizona’s economy through the creation of construction jobs in the housing industry is one of the chief priorities of the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona, but an industry insider says fixed costs and layoffs are making recovery quite difficult.

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Mold’s Hidden Story (access required)

There are no regulations for mold in Arizona, and Gila County, like most counties across the state, lacks policies to guard homeowners against mold contamination. Most cities in Arizona also have no ordinances regarding mold.

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Mental health assistance at any hour (access required)

When the economy took a nosedive, budgets for mental health care were slashed and the number of individuals feeling stressed rose, fostering the need to fill a gap in services between crisis care and out-patient services.

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First Things First users caught in political, economic hailstorm (access required)

The Legislature's decision to go after First Things First and its $325 million was inevitable, given the magnitude of the state's financial woes. But the agency also made political missteps that made it a target. Now the agency that is dedicated to providing health care services to children is fighting for its existence. In November, voters will be asked whether to continue the programs or dissolve it and redirect its money to the state's coffers.

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