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ADOT pledges to plow roads during storm

Despite a $100 million deficit, the Arizona Department of Transportation vows to keep roads in northern Arizona plowed and safe during a winter storm that is expected to hit Arizona this week. ADOT road crews plan to be out in force plowing at the same pace as last year.

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Special session kicks off, but most work slated for Thursday (access required)

Lawmakers officially kicked off the fourth special session of the year - the second devoted to the fiscal 2010 budget - with an uneventful gathering at the state Capitol on Nov. 17. The work on taking a small bite out of the state's $2 billion budget deficit will take place on Nov. 19, when House and Senate budget committees are expected to meet.

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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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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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Budget gap grows as result of ‘unrealized savings’ (access required)

Legislative budget analysts said last week that $165 million of the state budget deficit is due to "potential unrealized budget savings" that were assumed as part of the spending plan, which was designed to bridge a $3 billion shortfall. In short, several savings measures won't work as planned.

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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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Wanted: new revenue (access required)

Lawmakers will be facing quite the conundrum in 2010 - how to raise more revenue for the cash-strapped state without raising taxes. The Republican-led Legislature stymied attempts by Gov. Jan Brewer to put a sales tax increase on the ballot, and outright rejected the idea of passing a tax increase itself.

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States closed record $142.6 billion in gaps

States closed $142.6 billion in budget gaps for fiscal 2010 and could face more shortfalls in the next two budget years, according to a report released Monday (July 20). The National Conference of State Legislatures issued the report on state budgets and taxes as it opened its annual legislative summit in Philadelphia.

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