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Capitol Quotes 1/1/10 (access required)

"I keep thinking, Oh, my gosh! The time before we have to go back there is getting less and less!" - Sen. Linda Lopez, a Democrat from Tucson, on the approaching regular session. Lawmakers return to the Capitol Jan. 11 for the 2010 session.

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Sale of state prisons running into wall of opposition (access required)

When lawmakers chose April Fool’s Day as the deadline to submit a plan to privatize the state’s prison system, they unwittingly telegraphed just how dubious the plan was. First, the whole idea of putting state prisons under private control was a difficult sell to the public. Then there was a question about how many of the state’s 10 prisons to auction off.

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Capitol Quotes 12/11 (access required)

"I think that this most recent move, this RICO case against members of the judiciary, is maybe his Waterloo." - Phoenix attorney Michael C. Manning, on a lawsuit Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio have filed against the Board of Supervisors and several judges and attorneys, alleging that they blocked the pair's investigation into the new Superior Court tower.

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GOP pushing for 1-day special session (access required)

Barring any surprises, Gov. Jan Brewer is expected to call the Legislature into special session in the next few days. But her 1-cent sales tax hike won't be on the table - at least not this time. Still up in the air is the possibility of doing a second special session, possibly in December, for another round of cuts and potentially approving revenue generating options.

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Mixed messages emerge from school override, bond votes

If there's a message in the results of this month's school bond and budget override votes, the meaning is up for wide interpretation. The approval rate for overrides and bond issues requested by school districts on Nov. 2 was lower than the five-year average, leading some to conclude that the public's willingness to pay more taxes for education has decreased.

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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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Lottery renewal needed before state can borrow (access required)

The odds of winning the Arizona Lottery's big jackpot are about one in 175 million. The odds that lawmakers will sell off future lottery revenues for a quick cash infusion are exponentially better. As lawmakers ponder how to fix a fiscal 2011 budget deficit that is expected to top $2 billion, many are viewing lottery securitization as a last resort whose time has come.

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