Tucson mayor on "state of the city" - Tucson News Now

Tucson mayor on "state of the city"

State of the City address. (Source: Tucson News Now) State of the City address. (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

For the first time in nearly a decade, the state of the city of Tucson seems fine. 

While there are some storm clouds lingering on the horizon, for the time being, things are going pretty well it seems.

The State of the City address delivered by Mayor Jonathan Rothschild seems to bear that out.

It is a list, 12 pages of what the city has accomplished in the recent year.  You can read the full text here.

"We've had a good year, with lots of wins," Rothschild said. 

Downtown is booming, the city is adding jobs at one of the highest rates in the country, crime is down, national companies are moving here or expanding here and the future looks bright. 

Those storm clouds which may rain on Tucson's parade are not of the city's making, but could still hamper its forward progress.

Health care is one of those 'clouds'.

"Since the ACA (the Affordable Care Act) was passed and the Health insurance Marketplace opened, we've reduced Pima County's uninsured rate from 17 percent in 2013 to 11 percent in 2016," he said. "The Affordable Care Act has been a godsend for thousands of Tucsonans."

But that could be upset by the American Health Care Act being debated in Congress and end health care coverage for thousands of Tucsonans.

The border could also prove to be tenuous.

Building a wall along the US/Mexican border could hamper trade and tourism and affect 100,000 jobs. Trade and tourism with Mexico is a $2 billion shot in the arm for the Tucson economy.

Tariff's or taxes on Mexican imports could hurt the 264 Mexican businesses which operate in Arizona.

The budget proposal which is being floated by President Trump could make drastic cuts to Community Development Block Grant programs, which provide housing or housing subsidies to thousands of the poor and homeless along with homeless vets in Tucson. 

That could be a $15 million hit to the budget, which Tucson would likely not be able to fill. 

Immigrant and immigration issues also loom on Tucson's horizon. Even though the city has never declared itself a sanctuary city, there are those who perceive it to be which could lead to financial punishment for the city. 

Today, however, was about more rosy topics, such as the Raytheon expansion which will bring 2,000 jobs which pay on average $110,000 a year.

National companies like Comcast, HomeGoods, Caterpillar, and World View are expanding and creating 3,000 jobs. 

Visit Tucson's report that tourism growth expanded 12 percent last year. 

The mayor complained a bit about the number of employees he's lost in recent years. "City government is a lean operation, too lean in my opinion," he said, but gave no indication that may change any time soon. 

He added that a lean work force encourages people to work closer together towards a common goal. 

"We've learned to trust, not that things can't go wrong," he said. "But that we'll find out and fix it if they do."

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