Tucson recovery lags - Tucson News Now

Tucson recovery lags

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Tucson's recovery is lagging far behind the rest of the nation.

A recent survey which uses several metrics, places Tucson at an unenviable 143 our of the largest 150 cities in America.

It's easy to put the blame on the housing industry and that's likely the biggest reason.

The city says in 2007 it issued about 2,400 permits for single family homes.

Last year it was 350 and it's on pace for about the same this year.

There's been no growth to fill the over capacity due to over building and high rate of foreclosures.

A good, stable year is 700 to 1,000 but first the inventory must be reduced.

When that will happen or even if that will happen, is only a guess.

But the housing industry is not the only thing to blame for the slow recovery. It's more complicated than that.

Arizona has a difficult time attracting new business in part, because of the bad reputation caused by the passage of what some consider very bad laws.

"Some of the reputation we got was unfair and unfortunate," says Ron Shoopman, CEO of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council.

Unfair or not, it has still tarnished the state.

Part of the blame for that, according to Shoopman, was because business leaders took their eye off the ball.

"We didn't pay attention to that legislation," he says.

The business community was more interested in legislation concerning regulation, taxes and business interests.

"I hope we learned something," he says.

Shoopman says "we will going forward watch that legislation."

Tucson also suffers economically because a border wall separates it from its largest trading partner to the South, Mexico.

"I believe that's beginning to loosen up," he says. "But immigration reform is badly needed."

Shoopman believes if the border can be opened up at the legal points of entry and show a welcome mat, "it will offset some of the reputation."

Education is another sore point.

"I had a chance to talk to a recruiting agent who said only one in five can take the test and pass it," He says. "And this is the basic literacy exam for entry into the military."

All of the solutions to Tucson's lagging economy are long term, not short term solutions, so it appears the doldrums could be around for a while.

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