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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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Lawmakers inch toward special session (access required)

Lawmakers are inching closer to a special session as Senate leadership proposes that the Legislature convene to fix the budget woes of state agencies affected by the governor's veto. House leadership was polling members to see if they support the idea, Senate President Bob Burns told the Arizona Capitol Times on October 22.

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Report ranks Arizona ninth nationally in state, local reliance on sales taxes

Arizona ranks ninth nationally in its reliance on sales taxes to fund its state and local governments, according to a report by a nonpartisan tax research organization. The Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation found that 48.4 percent of Arizona's tax base came from general sales taxes and from selective sales taxes on motor fuel, tobacco, insurance premiums, public utilities, amusements and alcoholic beverages.

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The politics of tweets: Arizona leaders, candidates embrace social media

John Paul Mitchell spends two to three hours a day on social media sites, sharing links to articles he finds interesting and regularly engaging people in bursts of 140 characters or less. But the time he spends on his Twitter account, Facebook page and other sites is more than just leisure. Mitchell hopes it will help deliver him the Arizona governorship in 2010.

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DES would drop to ’04 funding levels if faced with 15% cut (access required)

A 15 percent cut at the Department of Economic Security would take a heavy toll on the vulnerable populations Gov. Jan Brewer has spoken so often of protecting. According to a report by the Department of Economic Security, a 15 percent reduction in the agency's budget would drop it down to 2004 funding levels.

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Education funding battle heats up (access required)

Lawmakers and representatives from the education community clashed over funding for Arizona's public education during a forum Oct. 20 at a downtown restaurant. Rep. Rich Crandall, a Mesa Republican, said he was taking the position as a "realist" and warned that cuts to education are inevitable next year given the size of the state's budget deficit.

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Brewer: mistakes were made

Gov. Jan Brewer has acknowledged that she made mistakes as she pursued a budget deal with the Legislature, although she didn’t elaborate on exactly what they were “Obviously I did something wrong. There were mistakes made in an effort to ...

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