Wednesday, July 02, 2008

New leadership needed to help Arizona economy

The time for change on the economy is now

TUCSON -- The Arizona economy continues get worse, according to the ASU School of Business, which reports in June the Arizona Business Conditions Index was below 50 for the seventh time in the last nine months. An index less than 50 suggests a contracting economy.

Many bad decisions have helped caused this crisis. Arizona needs new leadership to help improve the economy and quality of life. The time for change is now.

The Arizona Republic reports today: State revenues are down 7 percent this year, and the trend just keeps getting worse.

According to the Rockefeller Institute, at least 14 states are currently experiencing declines in revenues. Arizona's figure includes the effects of an income-tax cut. But even without that, the state would rank toward the bottom in terms of revenue production.

According to Moody's, Arizona is one of nine states currently in a recession.

Over the last year, personal-income growth in Arizona ranked 42nd among the states. Customarily, Arizona is near the top.

According to the latest report from the Mortgage Bankers Association, the mortgage delinquency rate in Arizona is 20th highest among the states and the foreclosure rate is 10th.

Overall, Arizona's job creation has been sluggish. Since the housing and construction peak, Arizona has has lost 42,100 construction jobs, and produced only 16,500 new jobs.

The non-urban areas of the state have lost around 35,000 non-construction jobs during this period. Areas outside Phoenix and Tucson have an unemployment rate of 6.7 percent, considerably above the national average.

ASU reports: In June, four of the five components of the Arizona Business Conditions Index had a reading of less than 50. It was the ninth straight month that the value of the purchased materials inventory level was less than 50. The new orders received index was less than 50 for the seventh time in the last nine months, and the employment index registered less than 50 for the fifth time in the last seven months. The production/business activity index also was less than 50.

The prices index exceeded 77 - a very high value - for the fourth consecutive month, showing continued inflation and increase in costs.

The time for change is now. Arizonans deserve new leadership to stop the economic 'race to the bottom', and build a strong, sustainable and prosperous economy that will help working people and businesses thrive.

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