All posts in "Pinal"

A Year Later, Still No Lucid Motors Factory


One year after an exciting announcement, there’s still no sign of the state’s first-ever car manufacturing assembly plant along Casa Grande’s industrial corridor.

Governor Doug Ducey enthusiastically made the announcement this time last year that Lucid Motors, a luxury electric car company aiming to compete with Tesla, was going to build a factory in Arizona and create an estimated 2,000 jobs.

The company’s initial plan was to start production in 2018, but the Lucid Motors hasn’t broken ground yet.


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TPT Increases Tax-dollar Distribution



The first year of full implementation of the Arizona Department of Revenue’s transaction privilege tax simplification is seeing increased tax-dollar distribution back to participating cities, including Apache Junction, according to a press release.

TPT is a gross receipts tax levied on businesses by the state of Arizona for the privilege of conducting business in the state. For the first six months of 2017, ADOR distributed more than $1.4 billion to 91 cities.

On Jan, 1, 14 municipalities, including Apache Junction, Chandler, Mesa, Scottsdale and Tempe, joined 77 Arizona cities under the state TPT collection program. For the first half of 2017, the east Valley cities received the following in TPT distribution:

•Apache Junction – more than $6.3 million, a 3.33 percent increase from the same period in 2016. •Chandler – more than $60 million, a 4.68 percent increase compared to the first six months of 2016. •Mesa – more than $82.6 million, a 3.79 percent increase from what the city collected in 2016. •Scottsdale – more than $101.3 million, a 2.59 percent from the same period in 2016. •Tempe – more than $77.2 million, a 6.59 percent increase compared to the first half of 2016.

“The Arizona Department of Revenue is pleased that after years of working with cities to implement this centralized licensing and reporting framework for thousands of Arizona businesses, transaction privilege tax reform is now fully implemented under Gov. (Doug) Ducey’s administration,” Arizona Department of Revenue Director David Briant said in the release. “TPT is a streamlined and efficient program that enables hundreds of thousands of businesses to register, file returns and make TPT payments via a central portal.”

Under ADOR’s full implementation of TPT simplification, the agency is the single point of administration and collection of state and city taxes for all business, including residential rental owners in the state. Businesses do not have to file two or more TPT returns, one with ADOR and another with the city or cities where the taxable activity occurred. The businesses need to only file one return for all taxing jurisdictions. In addition to collecting TPT payments, ADOR oversees all licensing and administering of TPT, saving participating cities hundreds of staff positions, according to the release.

“The Arizona Department of Revenue is focused on enhanced customer service and as part of the TPT program, we have expanded our education and outreach programs with businesses and program cities to ensure TPT is working the way it should,” Mr. Briant said.

The agency recently established a special phone hotline, 602-716-7368, and dedicated e-mail address,, for residential rental property owners required to have TPT licenses.

For more information on TPT and the ADOR, go to A reporting guide is at

© 2017 Independent Newsmedia Inc. USA. All rights reserved.




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Where Social Security Stretches The Furthest


With the average cost of living in Arizona being $19,102 annually, 10 counties in the state provide Social Security benefits near the annual cost of living for those regions, according to a study completed by SmartAsset.

The study shows in which counties it would be easiest for Arizona residents to live primarily, or entirely, off of Social Security benefits upon retirement for basic necessities.

Mojave, Pinal, La Paz and Graham counties provide Social Security benefits that exceed the cost of living in those counties, with benefits in Mojave County exceeding cost of living by more than $1,000.

In Mojave County, Social Security benefits average $19,302 compared to an average cost of living of $18,182.

In Pinal County, Social Security beneficiaries see an average of $500 more with average benefits of $19,810 compared to a cost of living average of $19,318.

In La Paz County Social Security benefits exceed the cost of living by $300 and in Graham County Social Security benefits exceed the cost of living by $65.

But Social Security benefits don’t quite cover costs in Arizona’s largest county, Maricopa County, where cost of living exceeds benefits by $28. Pima County is similar with a cost of living that exceeds SS benefits by $37.

But retirees looking to settle in Yavapai, Gila, Yuma and Navajo counties need supplemental income to make ends meet. Yavapai County’s cost of living exceeds benefits by more than $1,000. Gila, Yuma and Navajo counties have a cost of living that exceeds benefits by anywhere from $1,600 to $2,000 annually.




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Able Aerospace Services Recognized As Top Exporter


What do aerospace, peanut butter and elite athletic conditioning have in common? They are thriving businesses in our region that are exporting products and services all over the world. The Sun Corridor Export Recognition Program is celebrating the exporting successes of 17 businesses in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal Counties, and honoring four of them with onsite visits by local mayors, who will present a certificate acknowledging these achievements. On April 28, 2017, Able Aerospace Services Inc. and company CEO Lee Benson will be recognized by City of Mesa Mayor John Giles as the top scoring export business in Maricopa County, during a ceremony being held at 10:00 a.m. at the Able Aerospace headquarters, 7706 E. Velocity Way, Mesa, Arizona 85212.

The Sun Corridor Export Recognition Program was launched by the Joint Planning Advisory Council (JPAC), led by elected officials and business leaders in the Sun Corridor. City of Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton championed the development of the export recognition program when he became chair of the Maricopa Association of Governments Regional Council. He says, “We have great products and services to offer the world, and the vast majority of the marketplace is outside of our borders, so we have to think and act in a more concerted way toward exporting. The better we do, the better off our economy is going to be.”

When Able started exporting repaired and overhauled replacement parts for aircraft in 1994, exporting represented approximately $100,000 of their revenue. Now, 23 years later, exporting represents almost half of all parts and services activity. “We are bringing the benefit of that success home. We have turned our global export achievements into approximately 500 well-paying local jobs, and we are supporting hundreds of vendors,” says Able Aerospace Services Inc. CEO Lee Benson.

All applications from businesses that applied for the program were evaluated by an independent panel of experts. Based on this assessment, the businesses were placed in categories of emerging, proficient or expert. Able is being recognized as an expert exporter for overall achievement. Examples of other businesses being recognized through the program include Peanut Butter Americano, a small, family-owned business and an emerging exporter, and ALTIS, the world’s leading private training company of Olympic athletes and a proficient exporter.

Research demonstrates that only one percent of businesses export goods or services. Those that do export are more recession-proof and successful. Mayor Giles notes the impact exporting has on the economy and the region. “This program was launched to recognize businesses that are exporting and to encourage others to do the same, whether they are small or large. Businesses of any size can successfully export,” he says.

All 17 businesses will be recognized at the upcoming JPAC Economic Development for the Global Economy (EDGE) event. The event will be held on May 19, 2017, at the Wild Horse Pass. Event and registration details are available at

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New Solar Plant Will Charge Huge Battery For SRP


SRP announced a 20-year power purchase agreement for a grid-scale, integrated solar and battery project that will be located in Pinal County.  SRP will purchase all of the energy produced at the Pinal Central Energy Center, located near Coolidge, which will be constructed and owned by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources.

A subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources will build a single-axis tracking, 20 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic generation facility at the site and combine it with a 10MW lithium-ion energy storage system.  The solar plant will be used to charge the battery so it can deliver energy when the sun is not shining.  The project is expected to begin operations by the end of 2017.  20 megawatts is about enough energy to serve 5,000 average residential homes.

Effective battery storage could assist SRP in meeting peak customer demand and will optimize solar energy output in the future if the technology is determined to be efficient and economical. 

“This project will give us valuable experience with large-scale battery storage operations,” said SRP General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Mark Bonsall.  “It is our hope that this technology will prove to be an important part of our energy portfolio as we continue to seek sustainable resources to serve our customers.”

As part of a competitive solicitation process, SRP’s Board also approved a second separate grid-scale battery storage project for a 10MW battery with four hours of storage charged from the grid.  SRP’s partner in this effort will be announced once a power-purchase agreement is finalized.

The SRP Board has set a goal to meet 20 percent of SRP’s retail electricity requirements through sustainable resources by the year 2020.  Currently, SRP is on schedule to meet the goal of delivering 15.9 percent of retail requirements through sustainable resources by the end of the fiscal year by using solar, wind, geothermal, hydro power and energy-efficiency measures.

SRP is a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 1 million customers. SRP also is the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 800,000 acre-feet annually to municipal, urban and agricultural water users.

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Maricopa County Boomed In 2016 And Pinal Benefitted From Echo


Maricopa County added more people last year than any other county in the nation, but it was neighboring Pinal County that posted the fastest growth rate in the state, a beneficiary of overflow from its neighbor to the north.

The Census Bureau said in a late March population report that Arizona added 113,506 people from July 2015 to July 2016, with 81,360 of those people moving to Maricopa County – more than 222 per day to boost the county’s population to 4.2 million.

But Maricopa County’s 2 percent growth rate trailed Pinal County, which added 12,320 people for a 3 percent jump during the year, the fastest growth rate in the state.

As a bedroom community for Maricopa County, where many of its residents work, growth in Pinal county “is not unexpected right now,” said Joe Pyritz, a spokesman for the county government. The county had an estimated 418,540 residents in July, according to the Census Bureau.

“We have a lot of housing that is on the more inexpensive side. With that, people will work in Maricopa County and live in Pinal County,” he said.

The median price of Pinal County homes listed on the real estate appraisal site Zillow is around $199,000, almost $100,000 less than the median price Zillow listed in Maricopa County.

Most counties in Arizona have seen steady growth in recent years, and the latest Census report showed that trend continued last year. Only Graham, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties posted population losses in the same period.

“Population has been moving south and west, and we are in the Southwest,” said Arizona State Demographer Jim Chang. “Maricopa obviously is the largest county in Arizona, and the economic center of Arizona. It attracts the largest portion of people coming to Arizona.”

And Pinal has been the beneficiary of that growth as it spills over, Chang said.

Not every county has been so lucky.

While Pinal and Maricopa counties saw 11 percent population gains from 2010 to 2016, according to the Census, border counties Santa Cruz and Cochise lost 3 and 4.6 percent of their residents, respectively.

Cochise County, home to Bisbee and Fort Huachuca, has seen its population drop to 125,770, a drop of 5,586 people over the past six years.

“We’re not really sending up alarm bells,” said Lisa Marra, a spokeswoman for the Cochise County Board of Supervisors.

She said the county’s biggest employer is the Army’s Fort Huachuca, which has seen troop decreases over recent years, in part due to defense sequestration putting a hard cap on military spending.

Chang said changes on the base are bound to be felt in the county.

“It’s military personnel, and their families, and when we lose some of those we lose business,” he said. “It’s a ripple effect.”

Marra said the county has an older demographic – one in five is age 65 or older – which is not conducive to population growth. The county government is working to attract younger people by trumpeting the region’s “good air, low crime and healthy communities.”

“We have a lot of opportunities for growth,” Marra said. “Down here, in a smaller community, you can really make an impact.”

While Maricopa County saw the nation’s biggest numerical increase in residents, San Juan County, Utah, had the fastest rate of growth at around 7.6 percent.

The biggest losers in the nation were Cook County, Illinois, which lost 21,324 residents, and Eureka County, Nevada, which saw its population decline by 5.43 percent over the year, according to the March 23 report from the Census.



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