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Rios dynasty threatened amid tough GOP challenge (access required)

The Rios family has represented Pinal County in the Arizona Legislature for the past three decades, establishing a Democratic dynasty that has withstood numerous challenges over the years. But this year a Republican with Tea Party leanings has rousted a surprising level of support in a district that has been a Democratic stronghold ever since the lines were drawn.

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State debt: Arizona’s money pit (access required)

The state has borrowed more than $2 billion during the past four fiscal years, boosting its total debt load to $9.7 billion. At least one-third of the state’s debt must be repaid using money from the same account that lawmakers draw upon to pay for public education, Medicaid programs and other basic government services.

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Brewer: Budget can be balanced without tax hike (access required)

Gov. Jan Brewer said she believes the state can balance its budget next session without another tax hike, but she didn't rule out the possibility. "I am hoping that we do not," Brewer said at a Sept. 30 press conference on the steps of the Executive Tower.

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