89th Arizona Town Hall
Arizona's Rapid Growth and Development: People and the Demand for Services
October 29 – November 1, 2006
Explosive growth and development throughout the state is reshaping Arizona as it approaches the celebration of its first 100 years of statehood. Population growth and demographic changes in urban, suburban and rural areas are reflected in greater demands for human services, ranging from education and workforce development; health care and public safety, to quality of life items such as the arts, recreation and entertainment. The stewardship of our rapidly growing state presents challenges and opportunities that are seemingly endless as we endeavor to assure that Arizona creates and retains the quality of life we all desire. Following are just a few of the recommendations and findings from the 89th Arizona Town Hall that focused on human services and how we assure that Arizona develops the revenue sources to support both needed human services as well as the natural resources and infrastructure that were identified at the 88th Arizona Town Hall earlier this year.
- Arizona should develop a long-term plan for providing human services. The plan would serve as a blueprint for evaluating conflicting demands on limited resources, a benchmark against which public officials could be held accountable, a force for stability and progress, and a source of motivation to the public and private sectors.
- Specific challenges facing the educational system in Arizona include lack of funding; lack of qualified teachers and staff; lack of adequate, objective criteria to evaluate progress; special needs of English language learner students; lack of parental involvement; lack of proper nutrition and health care for students; and lack of consensus regarding what should be done.
- Businesses and nonprofits should continue and expand their efforts at working with high schools, colleges and universities to identify the needs of business and assist in the education of the current and next generation of workers.
- Efforts to improve health care in Arizona should begin with preventive measures, aimed first at young children.
- Efforts should be made to develop programs to assist small employers with providing health care coverage for workers through such proposals as financial incentives, government-funded premium sharing and risk pool programs.
- Public safety must be recognized and approached comprehensively as a criminal justice system encompassing law enforcement, courts, prosecutors and public defenders.
- There is support for increased public funding of the arts in Arizona through a dedicated statewide source.
- The public should be made more aware of what services their government provides, what sources of funding - whether taxes, fees or fines - are necessary to run government, and the correlation between the public's willingness to pay and the government's ability to provide the services that its people demand.
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