The numbers we should all be concerned about: 23% is the largest portion of our workforce in Pima County.  This sector works in the service industry. Followed by Government sector at 19%.

93% is the increase in telemarketing jobs in Southern Arizona since 2002. Manufacturing is down 27 percent, IT down 44 percent and Transportation and warehousing down 16 percent.

C is the score TUSD received as a district last year with a total of 8 A schools, 12 B schools, 43 C schools and 28 D schools (the most in the State).  In the last 5 years, spending per pupil increased 7%, but classroom spending dropped from 54.9 percent to 50.6 percent.

50.6% is the amount of money spent at TUSD in non classroom expenses.  The national average is 61%.

22% is the increase in tourism revenue in the past decade under the old leadership of the MTCVB. Maricopa was up 49% and the entire state was up 41%.

$200 million over 10 years is the amount the Pima County Board of Supervisors authorized from the General Fund to pay UPH to take over Kino Hospital. The original contract was for $120 million but that amount was used up in the first 5 years.  General fund road maintenance has been virtually non-existent until this election year.

$12,000,000 is the amount of uncompensated care provided at Kino last year.  Northwest Hospital writes off 2% and Kino 12% for uncompensated care.

#4 out of 25 is the ranking Tucson received by Travel and Leisure of the Most Underrated Travel Destinations in The World.  

206 percent is the increase in tuition at the University of Arizona  from 2000 to 2011. Peer Universities saw a 106% increase over the same time period, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.  

2011 is the year the University of Arizona overtook Raytheon as our regions’ largest employer.  Raytheon held that position since 1995. The UofA was under a hiring freeze in 2011. Raytheon chose to expand in Huntsville, Ala. in 2011.

95th out of 101 is the ranking Tucson earned for Markets for Business in 2009 by WSJ – Marketwatch. One of the reasons cited was lack of Fortune 500 companies.  When IBM left Tucson under a threat by the Tucson Council for an output tax they were #3 on the Fortune 500 list.

1998 was the year the Pima County Board of Supervisors authorized $38 million to build Kino Baseball Stadium. 2008 is the year the Tucson Sidewinders moved to Reno to play in a new downtown stadium and El Paso is building a new downtown stadium to house the Tucson Padres AAA team. The Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago White Sox and Colorado Rockies ended a spring training presence going back to 1947 in 2010.  The Copper Bowl left our region in 2001.

$231 million is the amount we’ve bonded to purchase open space from private land owners since 1997. The next bond package may include up to $285 million more.

11.8% is the amount of land owned by private parties in Pima County. The other 89.2% is owned by Government entities.    

23.3% is the poverty rate in Tucson. 53.6% is the poverty rate in South Tucson, 5.6% is the rate in Oro Valley and 4.4% is the poverty rate in Marana.  Detroit’s poverty was 23.2% in 2002 and just hit 1/3 of their population living in poverty with 47.8% of the children in poverty this year.

#6 in the USA is the ranking the Tucson area received for poverty for cities over 500,000 population by the US Census Bureau.

$385,000 is the amount TREO director Joe Snell earns as chief business finder for Pima County. $166k is the amount Richard Miranda earns to control a $1.2 billion budget with 4000 employees and $245k is the amount Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry earns at the helm of a $1.3 billion budget with 6000 employees. Local governments contributed over $13 million to TREO from 2006 to 2011 with Marana contributing $0.

Top 5 is the ranking Tucson received by CNN Money – - as the worst markets for small business in the entire USA.  Sacramento, San Diego, Los Angeles and Detroit join Tucson at the bottom.

The Brookings Institute June 2012 Metro Monitor ranks Tucson 83 out of 100 metropolitan areas for the strength of its economy.   Phoenix is at 5.

#1 is the ranking Tucson received from Forbes for renters.

#9 out of the Top 10 Cities in the US is the ranking Tucson received for its sales tax rate on retail purchases.  Arizona was ranked 50th for the highest sales taxes in the US.

Now let’s take a look at Arizona as a state and areas outside of Tucson and Pima County.

Phoenix ranked #3 in US for construction jobs  according to the US Labor Department in October of 2012. Phoenix added 6,300 construction jobs brought on largely by the $5 billion Intel plant in Chandler. Tucson added 300.

#10 is the Ranking Chief Executive Magazine gave Arizona for places to do business.  Changes to business regulations, property tax changes and the building of a new $5 billion state of the art Intel plant in Chandler, which will employ 1,000 workers are all recent changes that boosted Arizona’s business attraction.  Last month American Airlines closed it’s Tucson call center leaving 700 people without a job.

    #1- Phoenix in “Attracting College Graduates Between 25-39” (WSJ, 2009)

    #1- Phoenix as an “Entrepreneurial Hot Spot” (Cognetics)

    #1- Phoenix a “Top Turnaround Town” (CNN Money, 2012)

    #2- Pinal as “Fastest Growing County” (CNN, 2010)

    #8- Scottsdale as “Best Run City in America” (24/7 Wall Street, 2012)

    #9- Chandler as “Best Run City in America” (24/7 Wall Street, 2012)

As you read the above data points ask yourself are we as a region on the right track?  Are we getting what we are paying for? Can we compete for the companies and jobs of the future against other Cities around the US?  The local elections at the Pima County Board of Supervisors and elections for Congress, Senate and the Arizona House are bigger and more important than ever. If you think we are on the right track as a region, vote all the people currently running our region back in office. If you think we are on the wrong track in Pima County it’s time to pick new horses.

(Editor’s Note: Joe Higgins and Chris DeSimone are talk show host on KVOI 1030am The Voice. Their show, Wake Up Tucson airs live M-F from 6am to 8am. Email them at

(1) comment


Isn't Pima a county controlled by Democrats?

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