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Debt reduction is next fiscal hurdle (access required)

After policymakers borrowed heavily to keep government afloat amid a festering fiscal crisis that blew holes in the state’s budget for four years, a former Senate president tried to put into place a mechanism to rein in politicians’ appetite for debt-financing.

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Distractions? Yes. Distracted? Probably not too much

Every circus has its sideshows. And this year, the state Capitol was crawling with them. 

For the first time in more than a decade, lawmakers wrapped up their work in 100 days. And they did so in spite of distractions that came in the form of a roadside fracas that cost a Republican leader his post, a college football scandal that ensnared more than a dozen elected officials and a tragic shooting days before the session began that cast a pall over the entire process.

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A balanced budget… for now: Threat of lawsuits could undo spending cuts (access required)

Fiscally conservative Republicans won the argument when the governor agreed to forego borrowing and other budget gimmicks to help shore up the state’s sagging revenues, and the budget-slashing proposal was also a vindication for legislators who saw themselves as lone voices in the wilderness, warning for many years that politicians’ appetite for spending would one day come back to haunt them.

But a bigger, perhaps more critical fight looms.

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Capitol Quotes: Oct. 29, 2010

“In aggregate, I would give term limits a net minus, but I don’t attribute every ill that we have to term limits. They’re not responsible for 110 degrees in July.” — Kevin McCarthy, president of the Arizona Tax Research Association, talking about the movement to repeal term limits for politicians.

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