Tag Archives: Rio Nuevo

What Did the 53rd Arizona Legislature Accomplish? (video)

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley with Handmaids

Handmaids visited the Arizona Legislature frequently in 2018. Here they are on opening day with Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley.

It has been a little more than a month since the 53rd Legislature ended with a 40-hour marathon, passing the budget in the middle of the night, under the watchful eye of Red for Ed teachers and supporters.

What did the Legislature do in the 53rd Session?

  • We passed the comprehensive Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act, to attack the opioid epidemic in Arizona.
  • We passed dental therapy, expanding access to affordable dental care for urban and rural residents and creating new healthcare jobs. (Video.)
  • We stopped several corporate tax giveaway bills that would have further drained the general fund and taken money from public education. (Video.)
  • We stopped an untested technology from being used on Arizona workers. After Uber and Theranos, hopefully we have learned our lesson on putting untested technologies into statute. (Video.)

What didn’t we do?

  • We failed to adequately fund k-12 public education, community colleges or the university system. In fact, the Republican response to the Red for Ed movement was to make 50 fund transfers to pay the teachers a bit more (but not as much as they deserve). It’s time to restore k-12 public education funds for personnel and infrastructure to pre-recession levels. Funding education is economic development. (Video.)

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Rio Nuevo Extension to 2035 Moves through #AZLeg

AC Marriott in Tucson

The new AC Marriott in downtown Tucson was built with a Rio Nuevo sales tax deal.

Backers of the Rio Nuevo Tax Increment Financing District have been intensely lobbying the Arizona Legislature for months in hopes of extending the life of Rio Nuevo beyond its current end date of 2025.

Reps. Mark Finchem and Todd Clodfelter have proposed HB2456 which would extend Rio Nuevo to 2035. In its current form, Rio Nuevo and development in the downtown district are controlled by the Arizona Legislature. The Rio Nuevo Board is appointed by the Governor, the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate, and all Rio Nuevo deals are approved by those three.

What’s wrong with this picture? The people of Tucson created Rio Nuevo with our vote back in 1999, but under the control of the Legislature, the people have no voice in Rio Nuevo and no say in what is built in our city’s core. That’s a problem. Our town does not belong to the Arizona Legislature. Where is our local control?

Last week the Arizona Daily Star published my guest commentary on Rio Nuevo: Is It Time for the Sun to Set on Rio Nuevo? The article gives some historical background on Rio Nuevo and raises questions about the financing behind the deals. At the end are some suggestions.

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Tucson Metro Chamber endorses the Democratic incumbents, finds two Republican challengers unqualified

TucsonCarolyn Classen posted a thumbnail sketch of the endorsements of the GOP-friendly Tucson Metro Chamber’s Southern Arizona Business Political Action Committee in an earlier post, but this does not really do justice to the import of these endorsements.

The GOP-friendly Chamber finds that two of the Republican challengers are unqualified, and co-endorsed the Democratic incumbent with her Republican challenger (to keep their Republican members happy) on specious grounds, based upon the past actions of a previous GOP-majority City Council.

Jim Nintzel of the Tucson Weekly reported, Tucson Metro Chamber Endorses Cunningham, Scott and Burkholder in Council Races:

City of Tucson Council Race Ward 1

The Southern Arizona Business PAC has decided to make no endorsement in this race this year.

The Chamber has always had a jones on for incumbent Regina Romero, not for the reasons stated, but because she is associated with the Raúl Grijalva wing of the Democratic Party, and Republicans really hate Grijalva. Well get over it.

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