Friday, November 15, 2013

Can Public Banking Spur Economic Growth in Southern Arizona?

Tucson is one of the most impoverished cities in the country—for many reasons. The Arizona Legislature—driven by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and short-sighted, “small government” ideology—has routinely swept funds earmarked for counties and cities to “balance” the state’s budget or fund pet projects like lower corporate taxes.
Beyond the Legislature’s negative impact on Baja Arizona, the Tucson economy is not diversified enough. Manufacturing is nearly non-existent in Southern Arizona. There is an over-reliance on defense spending, University of Arizona spin-offs, tourism, low-wage service jobs, and growth/development. During the Great Recession, multiple income streams for our local economy were dramatically reduced or eliminated—resulting in the loss of hundreds, if not thousands of good-paying jobs due to budget cuts, business closures, and the housing market crash. People and jobs left the area.
In August, the Arizona Daily Star ran a week-long series on multiple aspects of poverty in Southern Arizona and just this week, the Star ran a story that stated Tucson was second only to Detroit in the proliferation of crappy, low-wage jobs. In a survey of 52 metro areas with over 1 million residents, Tucson was in the top 10 for job creation; the problem is that more than half of the projected 28,000 new jobs will pay less than $13.84/hour. (If you really want to be depressed, check out the list of Tucson’s fastest growing occupations here. None of these jobs requires a college education. Thanks to TREO’s efforts, telemarketer is #1. Thanks to Tucson’s ample supply of old folks, the next four most popular jobs are low-wage health/caregiver positions. We won’t break the cycle of poverty in this city with a jobs picture like this.)
So, we know that our city has big economic challenges. Now what?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the Affordable Care Act (and Healthcare Reform)

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and healthcare reform, in general, will be the focus of PDA Tucson's general membership meeting on Thursday, Nov. 14.

Andrea Witte (the Connect the Dots Lady) will present the updated version of "The American Healthcare CrazyQuilt", which looks at how the US healthcare system evolved into the most expensive system in the world but still leaves millions of people uninsured. She also will discuss the Affordable Care Act.

Dr. Eve Shapiro, local pediatrician and head of PDA Tucson's universal healthcare issue organizing team, will talk about single-payer, universal healthcare and why that should be our country's ultimate healthcare reform goal. The ACA is a step in the right direction but not the end of the road.

Concluding the healthcare portion of the program, Michal Goforth, executive director of the Pima County Access Program, will talk about local ACA outreach efforts and local implementation of the new healthcare law.

Rounding out the evening, PDA Tucson Chair Phil Lopes will discuss local and national initiatives of the Progressive Democrats of America.

The Nov. 14 meeting will be held at the Pima County Housing Center, 801 W. Congress St. The entrance faces Congress Street, but parking is on the North and East sides of the building. Doors open at 6 p.m.; program starts at 6:30 p.m.

Related Information:
Affordable Care Act Quick Reference Guide from Connect the Dots USA