National park tourism, spending recovers from pandemic but still lags

WASHINGTON - National parks in Arizona welcomed 10.7 million visitors who pumped $1.12 billion into local economies in 2021, both sharp increases from the pandemic-induced lows of the year before, but still shy or pre-pandemic levels, according to a recent report.


Burgers and bucks: Typical July 4th cookout will cost 17% more this year

WASHINGTON - The real fireworks for this Fourth of July weekend may be in the supermarket aisles. The American Farm Bureau's annual survey of holiday food prices found the cost of a cookout for 10 will be $69.68 this year, 17% higher than the same meal last year.


Migrants stuck in Mexico still rely on money from family to live

TAPACHULA, Mexico – While migrants remain trapped in Tapachula, in southern Mexico, the money they receive from family members is spent towards benefiting the city’s economy. But because of delays in issuing legal documentation – some migrants face economic instability and uncertain survival routes while working to survive.


Rent hikes, downtown boom spur gentrification of older Tucson neighborhoods

TUCSON - Rents are rising all over the country, but Tucson, once a sleepy, affordable city, has seen a particularly painful spike. And with rising prices, gentrification is pushing people out of neighborhoods that once were affordable.


Passing on gas: Biden’s gas-tax holiday gets cool reception in Arizona

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden's plan to ease prices at the pump by suspending state and federal gas taxes could be running on empty, after state and federal lawmakers who would have to approve the tax holiday greeted it skeptically - or with hostility.


Landlords asked to help solve homelessness through new Maricopa County initiative

PHOENIX – Threshold is a centralized network of resources to support property managers so they can provide more people with affordable housing. Operated by HOM Inc., an Arizona company working with nonprofits in the state to combat homelessness, the service is funded by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, which is using federal COVID-19 relief funds and general funds.


Firefighters get pay boost, say more needed as wildfires keep growing

WASHINGTON - Advocates welcomed the announcement that federal firefighter pay will increase by as much as $20,000 this year, a potentially "life-changing" step for the chronically underpaid crews. But they say more still needs to be done to attract and retain firefighters.


Tampon shortage spotlights fight against ‘period poverty’

PHOENIX – The latest supply chain problem – a shortage of feminine care items – has prompted Arizona advocates to renew calls for “period equity” to ensure that menstrual products are accessible and affordable for all.


As budget deadline nears, Arizona educators rally at Capitol to protest public school spending

PHOENIX – Members of the Arizona Education Association rallied Tuesday at the state Capitol to again call on lawmakers to funnel a bigger chunk of the state’s $5 billion budget surplus into public school spending.


Despite calls for reform, guns are still a growth industry in Arizona

WASHINGTON - At a time when headline-grabbing mass shootings are driving calls for gun reform, gun manufacturing appears to still be a growth industry in Arizona, which had the third-most in the nation. The number of manufacturers grew 218% over the last decade.


White House touts ‘robust’ Arizona economy; critics call that half the picture

WASHINGTON – Despite rising inflation and high gas prices, White House officials insisted this week that Arizona is sharing in the nation's "robust" economic recovery, with low unemployment, and expanding wages in the state.


College debt relief plan could mean $111.9 million for 10,000 in Arizona

WASHINGTON - More than 10,000 Arizonans could see $111.9 million in federal student loan debt erased as part of a $5.8 billion loan discharge announced this week for former students of the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges.