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Rising Jobless Rate Fuels Debate in Governor’s Race

Ryan Heinsius

A new report showing the state’s jobless rate rising for the third straight month is fueling a key debate in the gubernatorial campaign. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

The report comes as Arizona is phasing in cuts in corporate and personal income taxes and business property taxes designed to stimulate the economy. It also comes as Republican Doug Ducey has promised future tax cuts if elected, including driving the individual income tax rate as close to zero as possible. But, Democrat Fred DuVal said further broad-based tax cuts do not make sense.

“We have been very aggressive about reducing tax rates waiting for the great comeback to occur. And what I would say is, it, by itself, has not succeeded. We’ve got to have a comeback to reality that the budget cuts are as important a component to economic growth as anything else we’re doing,” DuVal said.

DuVal said businesses want a trained workforce and schools to which executives want to send their children. But Ducey said it’s not that simple.

“A trained workforce and good schools are important in an economic climate, as are tax cuts. They’re not mutually exclusive of each other. And when someone is considering relocating their company out here, Howie, they can find good schools for their children. We know how to educate a child here in the state of Arizona,” Ducey said.

That still leaves the fact the state has 137,000 fewer jobs now than before the recession even as employment in most other states has recovered.

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