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The Tucson agenda

Sahuarita's mega surplus; TUSD needs auditors

The political world loves "rainy day funds," but Sahaurita's excess cash is borderline insane. Meanwhile, a Tucson Unified School District's audit committee woes are the fault of a community that doesn't want to step up.... Read more»

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As businesses hunt for educated workers, states loosen purse strings for higher ed again

Many states are boosting their budgets for public higher education more than at any time since 2008 and proposing even higher allocations down the road as politicians are focusing on the need for educated workers in an economy that’s short of talent.... Read more»

Private landlords have become the key to Arizona subsidized housing

Private landlords serve as gatekeepers for tenants who’ve received vouchers, but the majority of Arizona’s roughly two dozen public housing authorities, which manage the program for HUD, lack a formal process for approving private landlords.... Read more»

Feds approve 35,000 more work visas, as firms struggle to fill open jobs

Arizona businesses welcomed the federal government’s release this week of another 35,000 H-2B visas for temporary guest workers, as a tight U.S. labor market has left companies scrambling to fill vacancies. ... Read more»

California to test solar panels over irrigation canals to save water, boost electricity output

A pilot project in California’s lush Central Valley looks to save water and increase energy efficiency by building solar-panel canopies over existing canals - but such a solution is impractical in Arizona, where costs would be too high and the savings too low.... Read more»

Yes, the drought really is that bad

The Southwest has been hit hard with dry conditions as shrinking snowpacks, parched topsoil and depleted reservoirs are symptoms of the West’s worst set of dry years since 800 A.D. - and there is a significant likelihood the megadrought continues.... Read more»

Tucson offers to turn off tap on some Colorado River water to try to save Lake Mead

Tucson is offering to give up part of its Colorado River allotment to try to maintain water levels in Lake Mead, an important reservoir for Arizona and other Southwestern states that has been imperiled by drought. ... Read more»

Congress, White House scramble to ease baby formula shortage

Both the Biden administration and Congress moved Wednesday to try to relieve a national infant formula shortage, as the White House invoked the Defense Production Act and the U.S. House approved $28 million for the Food and Drug Administration. ... Read more»

What the Devil won't tell you

Prop. 411 is in the bag, now Tucson must move on with RTA

The half-cent sales tax voters kept in place Tuesday is about getting the city back to where it wants to be. The Regional Transportation Authority is about what Tucson wants to become. The City Council now must play nice with the RTA board.... Read more»

Ransomware attacks on hospitals put patients at risk

In the past few years, a growing number of hospitals and health care organizations across the U.S. have faced cyberattacks, interrupting care and putting patients at risk, including some public health facilities run by state or local governments. ... Read more»

'We are still here': Tribes reclaiming out-of-state ancestral homelands

Native American tribes – from Alabama to Michigan to Kansas – are increasingly buying back or being gifted back property in their ancestral homelands, either to build economic sustainability or to manage cultural preservation sites.... Read more»

Tucson voters overwhelmingly OK continued 1/2-cent sales tax for roads

Tucson streets will get about $740 million in increased attention over the next decade, as local voters voted almost 3-1 in favor of Prop. 411 to fund transportation improvements in an special election Tuesday.... Read more»

Gila River Indian Community awarded $4.4 million to expand broadband

The Gila River Indian Community received a $4.4 million dollar grant from the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan to help improve access to and use of broadband internet service among tribal citizens.... Read more»

More funds sought for drone inspections of Arizona transportation infrastructure

Bipartisan legislation would bring about $200 million to Arizona to use drones to inspect roads, bridges and other infrastructure – half for state, local and tribal governments to purchase drones and the other half to train pilots to fly them.... Read more»

Estados aún deben usar el dinero federal que era para zanjar disparidades de COVID

La administración de Biden anunció en 2021 que estaba invirtiendo $2,250 millones para abordar las disparidades de salud de COVID, pero un año después, se ha utilizado poco del dinero.... Read more»

States have yet to spend hundreds of millions of federal dollars to tackle COVID health disparities

The Biden administration in March 2021 announced it was investing $2.25 billion to address COVID health disparities - and two months later, grants were awarded to every state health department - but a year later, little of the money has been used.... Read more»

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