All posts in "Government & Economy"

US Court Upholds Uranium Mining Ban Near Grand Canyon

 

Via mining-technology.com

A US appeals court has upheld a ban imposed by the previous federal administration on new mining claims around the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

In 2012, the US Department of the Interior under the rule of former US President Barack Obama enforced the ban on new uranium mining claims across one million acres of public lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon for 20 years.

Soon after the ban was adopted, mining companies resorted to legal action to overturn it.

 

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Arizona Courts Rule In Favor Of Pima County And World View Enterprises

 

Via insidetucsonbusiness.com

Pima County’s deal with space balloon company World View Enterprises can move forward after the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the lease agreement, overturning the lower court’s February ruling.

The Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute, a conservative think tank, sued the county in April, saying the deal with World View didn’t follow the competitive bidding process required when leasing property.

Pima signed a 20-year lease with World View in April 2016, which included the county promising a $15 million investment on a launch pad and 135,000 square-foot facility on county-owned land.

 

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Arizona Business Leaders Pushing To Increase Education Sales Tax

Via tucson.com

PHOENIX — A plan by business leaders to ask voters for a 1.5-cent sales tax increase for education on the 2020 ballot could set the stage for an expensive battle with Gov. Doug Ducey and his Koch brothers allies.

The plan’s newly disclosed specifics include $660 million to extend the 0.6-cent sales tax that voters first approved in 2000 to fund education. That levy will self-destruct in 2021 unless specifically reauthorized.

Ducey has already said he supports making that tax permanent.

 

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Pet Supply Giant Chewy Brings 700 Jobs To Goodyear

 

Via azbigmedia.com

Online pet products retailer Chewy, Inc. has committed to bringing 700 new full-time jobs to Goodyear as part of its latest expansion into the southwestern United States.

The 49-acre site that the company selected for its 802,671 square foot e-commerce facility is located south of Van Buren Street on 143rd Avenue in the Airport Gateway Development, a 230-acre master planned business park. Construction of the facility began in November in anticipation of taking occupancy in the second quarter of 2018.

Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord welcomed the city’s latest investor saying “We are thrilled to announce that Chewy, Inc. has chosen Goodyear as the location for their internet fulfillment center. E-commerce will continue to be a significant driver of our nation’s economy and Goodyear is proud to be home to an innovative company like Chewy, Inc.”

 

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Arizona Court To Consider Taxation Of Leased Solar Panels

 

Via journalgazette.net

PHOENIX (AP) The Arizona Supreme Court has agreed to review lower courts’ rulings that the state cannot require companies leasing rooftop solar systems to homeowners to pay property tax for the systems.

The state Court of Appeals last May upheld a trial judge’s ruling that state Department of Revenue was wrong when it determined in 2013 the leased rooftop solar systems should be subject to property tax as electricity generating systems.

Leasing companies SolarCity Corp. and SunRun Inc. sued the department, and a Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled in their favor.

The high court’s order Monday says the justices will hear oral arguments on the case.

 

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Economic Buzz About Tucson May Be Right, Despite Lackluster Numbers

 

Via tucson.com

That was the unexpected message UA economist George Hammond delivered in his 2018 economic forecast.

An economist telling us to ignore data and trust our feelings?! Well, it wasn’t that simple, but Hammond noted that the preliminary survey data delivered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and used by state of Arizona in its employment reports don’t seem to add up. For some of the months in late 2017, they’ve shown job losses in the Tucson area compared to the same time last year, at a time when we were supposed to be growing steadily.

“Before you get too concerned about that, I think that those estimates are way too pessimistic,” Hammond told us Friday during a luncheon at the Westin La Paloma. “I think that data, which is preliminary data, is going to be revised up significantly. Once it is revised up, that’s going to square a lot better with the buzz around town about how Tucson is doing.”

 

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Proposed Legislation Could Make AI Illegal In AZ

 

Via tucson.com

Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, wants to make it a crime to use any computer or software that conceals its real identity “to simulate or impersonate the action of a human.” Violations would be a felony subjecting the owners or operators to a year in state prison.

What Kavanagh is trying to outlaw are computer “bots” that can log into sites and do things that it would normally take a human to do.

“I’m told that it’s a real issue with concert tickets and sporting event tickets,” he said, logging into computer sites the minute tickets go on sale and buying up all the tickets. Kavanagh said that can be done even if there are limits to individual sales, with computers quickly making multiple purchases.

 

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Arizona Ports Of Entry Battle Infrastructure And Staffing Challenges

 

Via kdminer.com

PHOENIX – From a farm or a maquila in Sonora, Mexico to a supermarket store in Chicago, the journey of products coming from Mexico is a long, sometimes slow one. But according to border experts and officials, it’s during customs inspections at the border where the process gets delayed the most because ports of entry are understaffed and their need for investment is often overlooked.

According to a 2016 Customs and Border Protection report to Congress, CBP has 2,107 unfilled officer’s positions, despite an increase of more than 30 percent of trucks with goods crossing from Mexico over the last decade, according to date from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

In Arizona, the Tucson sector has over 20 percent of unfilled positions, according to a letter the Arizona Border Counties Coalition sent to the state’s Congressional Delegation in August.

 

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Arizona and Phoenix Lead In Small Business Wage Growth

 

Via azbigmedia.com

The Paychex | IHS Markit Small Business Employment Watch shows a modest decline in both small business job and wage growth for November. The Small Business Jobs Index decreased 0.03 percent for the month, 0.10 for the quarter, and 0.52 percent for the year to 99.86. The national index has now been below 100 for five consecutive months. Monthly small business wage growth has slowed since reaching a high of nearly three percent in August. Hourly earnings in November stand at $26.09, a gain of 2.77 percent ($0.70) year-over year.

According to the report, Arizona leads states in wage growth, nearing five percent (4.99 percent) YOY. Southwest metros – including Phoenix, San Diego, and Riverside – also lead hourly earnings growth among national metros with rates well above four percent.

“Though the monthly declines this year have been small, they have been persistent,” said James Diffley, chief regional economist at IHS Markit. “At 99.86, the Small Business Jobs Index indicates employment growth, though steady, is now at the slowest pace since 2011.”

 

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Tax Money To Be Used For Legal Fees Of Lawmakers Accused of Ethics Violations

 

Via azdailysun.com

PHOENIX — Arizona taxpayers could be on the hook for up to $18,000 to pay the legal fees of lawmakers accused of ethics violations.

House Speaker J.D. Mesnard has authorized up to 20 hours of legal work on behalf of Reps. Don Shooter, R-Yuma, Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, and Rebecca Rios, D-Phoenix. All three were named in complaints and became the subjects of an internal probe to see if there is truth to allegations against them. That inquiry is the first step in determining if any House rules were violated and whether lawmakers should face a disciplinary hearing.

Each attorney is being allowed to charge up to $300 an hour.

 

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