Concerns stoked by pundits unfounded, advocacy groups say
By Cathryn Creno
The Republic | azcentral.com
Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards were mired in controversy long before they took effect in public schools last fall.
Conservatives, both in Arizona and nationally, have used the basis for the standards — the national Common Core State Standards Initiative — as a political punching bag. Now, two powerful Arizona education organizations, the Rodel Foundation of Arizona and Expect More Arizona, say it’s time to fight back. They are organizing a pro-standards campaign called “Arizona Aims Higher.”
By Alia Beard Rau – The Republic | azcentral.com – January 24th, 2014
Gov. Jan Brewer and legislative economists over the past week released conflicting budget predictions for the next three years, setting the stage for a battle over Arizona’s future.
The governor has vowed that by the time her term ends in January 2015, the state budget will be structurally balanced — meaning more ongoing revenue is coming in than spending going out. Her budget projections reflect that. Continue reading
By Mary Jo Pitzl – The Republic | azcentral.com – January 24th, 2014
A free meal outside the Legislature where lobbyists and lawmakers mingle: acceptable.
A free ticket to a sporting event or concert where similar mingling occurs: not so much.
A state Senate panel on Thursday grappled with where to draw the line between appropriate and inappropriate efforts to influence legislators as they debated a proposed ban on free sports and entertainment tickets. Continue reading
January 24th, 2014
We almost found out Thursday exactly how much the Republicans who control the Legislature resent Arizona voters.
Unfortunately, the hearing at which lawmakers would have made their feelings known was postponed, perhaps because there were TV cameras and actual voters on hand.
But trust me. These people don’t see voters as necessary evils. They see them as unnecessary ones. Continue reading
Trade sector leads; unemployment rate drops to 7.6%
By Ronald J. Hansen – The Republic | azcentral.com – January 24th, 2014
Arizona employers added nearly 7,000 workers in December, helping to bring down the state’s unemployment rate, officials reported Thursday.
Some industrial sectors posted sizable gains while others recorded smaller-than-usual losses. It meant Arizona’s unwas employment rate dropped from 7.8 percent to 7.6 percent. Nationally, unemployment fell 0.3 percentage points in December to 6.7 percent, but much of the decline was attributed to people giving up looking for work.
Arizona’s trade, transportation and utilities sector, which includes retailers, led the state’s employment growth, adding a net 5,600 workers. It the best December report for that sector since 2006, before the Great Recession started, and suggested that consumers may have been more active during the holiday shopping season.