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What is ‘PILT’ and why do we need a permanent solution?

The acronym “PILT” is more than just an odd abbreviation. PILT stands for Payment In Lieu of Taxes, a program created by Congress in 1976. Simply put, PILT provides federal funding to counties that host large tracts of non-taxable federal land, reimbursing the counties for services required on those lands and making it possible for county governments to provide police and fire protection, road maintenance and necessary health care services.

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Arizona pension system still best for public workers, taxpayers

Glaring headlines about Arizona’s public worker retirement system suggest that your typical retired teacher, firefighter or police officer is sipping margaritas on a beach somewhere enjoying a six-figure pension. Meanwhile the state’s pension funds are running out of money, leaving you, the taxpayer, stuck with the bill.

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In Arizona, getting patient therapies approved is an out-of-date proposition

Health care will be an issue of reckoning for legislators this year. A less covered but extremely important topic is setting higher expectations in Arizona when it comes to incorporating technology into a patient’s access to care. Specifically, improving how insurers act upon prior authorization, a process required by insurance plans before certain medications are approved for patients.

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Education — the best investment for our future

Education — the best  investment for our future

For more than 50 years, Arizona Town Hall has asked Arizonans to identify the most pressing and important policy topics for discussion. In recent years, Town Hall members and participants have repeatedly identified education as a topic that requires immediate attention. Perhaps this has been due to widespread opinions that Arizona’s education systems are not prepared to support the most prosperous future for our state.

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New assessment, Common Core form path to Arizona students’ success

New assessment, Common Core form path to Arizona students’ success

Too few Arizona students graduate from high school prepared for college, career and life. Did you know that just seven out of 10 students graduate from high school, and of those who do, more than half aren’t eligible for admission into a state university? What’s more, 42 percent of employers say their employees lack the basic skills needed to be successful in the workplace.

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AAA urges state leaders to focus on road safety and funding

AAA urges state leaders to focus on road safety and funding

With the recent commencement of the legislative session and release of Governor Brewer’s 2015 executive budget, public policy debates on a variety of critical issues have once again assumed the spotlight. Indeed, our elected officials are tasked with making difficult choices, balancing our state’s growing needs with dwindling resources.

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Backyard chickens an appropriate topic for legislature

I’m so glad to see that the state of Arizona might take a stab at this issue! Why didn’t I know about this story (“Backyard fowl bill filed by Mesa lawmaker,” Jan. 24) a few years ago? I’ve been following “chicken fights” across the country since 2009. I chronicled many of the more humorous and poignant ones in a guide to backyard chicken keeping called, “The Backyard Chicken Fight.” I wish I had had THIS story!

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