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In our rundown spotlight today: at least 13 are dead in Barcelona after a driver ran his van into pedestrians; a researcher examines ways to resolve racial inequality; and a new study finds Latinos will fuel a quarter of America's economic growth in 2020.

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New Arizona Economic Think Tank Launches Today

A new think tank, the Arizona Center For Economic Progress, launches today. (Center for Economic Progress)
A new think tank, the Arizona Center For Economic Progress, launches today. (Center for Economic Progress)
January 5, 2017

PHOENIX -- A new economic think tank is launching today in the Grand Canyon State. It's called the Arizona Center for Economic Progress.

The center is a division of the Children's Action Alliance, and its purpose is to build coalitions that will push for sound public policy to put the state in a stronger financial position. Former state Senator David Lujan, the center's new director, said it's all about building better communities.

"Whether that's investing in K-12 education or higher education or infrastructure, we will be advocating for those things that are going to create jobs and increase the economic wealth of Arizonans,” Lujan said.

On the occasion of the launch, the center is releasing three new policy briefs. One looks at the decisions the state Legislature has made every year, and concludes that the tax cuts implemented every year since 1990 have crippled the state's ability to invest in education and infrastructure.

Another paper examines the role of federal money in Arizona's economy. Lujan noted that the state is heavily dependent on the federal government to pay for a lot - including education, the Medicaid expansion, fighting forest fires and programs that help train doctors, to name a few.

"Arizona, compared to other states, takes a greater share of federal funds,” Lujan said. "So when Congress talks about cutting the federal budget, Arizonans should be aware that that could have a significant impact on Arizona's economy."

The third publication, released today, takes a critical look at the legacy of the tax cuts in Kansas in recent years.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - AZ