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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Stimulus plan goes to Senate

    PHOENIX – Proponents of a $1.4 billion economic stimulus package will testify today in front of the Senate’s Health and Higher Education Committee to garner support for the plan.

    The package calls for funding for building infrastructure for the state’s three universities, which supporters say will help strengthen Arizona’s weak construction industry.

    “”We’re hoping it (the hearing) will focus legislative attention on it,”” said Greg Fahey, the UA’s lobbyist.

    The UA would receive $327 million in bonds. They would go toward a new environmental and natural science building, as well as expansions to the headquarters for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and an upgrade of Centennial Hall, among other projects.

    Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup is among the latest additions to the list of supporters for the package, which the university presidents unanimously endorse, according to documents from the Arizona Board of Regents.

    Meanwhile, legislators are still debating how to balance the state’s 2009 fiscal year budget, which could feature a deficit between $1.7 billion and $2 billion, said Leah Ruggieri, a senior fiscal analyst with the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

    “”All we can do is talk to members and remind them they need to spare us as much as possible,”” Fahey said.

    Budget negotiations may continue well into June, Fahey said, and many talks are behind closed doors.

    No public documents have been released about status of the 2009 budget negotiations, Ruggieri said.

    “”There’s just a lot to consider, given the size of the deficit,”” she said.

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