Study: Billionaires Gain, Workers Lose in Arizona’s COVID Economy
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
PHOENIX -- While hundreds of thousands of Arizona workers have been hurt by the economic impact of the pandemic, a new report has found that a few of their wealthy neighbors have done quite well.
The Forbes "Billionaires Report" showed that Arizona's richest residents saw their net worth jump by $11 billion in the first three months of the global health crisis. David Lujan, director of the Arizona Center for Economic Progress, said it's a glaring example of the nation's growing income gap.
"It's a sign of the huge wealth inequality that exists in America, and in Arizona," he said. "Particularly in times of the COVID pandemic -- so many Arizonans are struggling to put food on the table and struggling small business owners -- you still have people at the top 1% who are doing pretty well."
During the stretch between March 18, when COVID-19 restrictions began, and June 17, Arizona's top 10 billionaires increased their collective bank balances by more than 50%. In the same period, 650,000 Arizonans lost their jobs.
Lujan said workers find it demoralizing that the state attempted to reopen the economy too soon, and a spike in COVID cases forced another round of business closures.
"I think a lot of the hesitation and the inaction that we're seeing from political leaders, that will have an economic cost down the road," he said, "because the virus is not going to go away."
Lujan said the first pandemic assistance program is running out of money, and added that he thinks Congress needs to approve another round of stimulus funds. He said the $3 trillion Heroes Act approved by the House addresses many of those needs.
"Increasing food assistance, SNAP benefits; housing assistance for people that are in danger of being evicted; expanding the unemployment benefits that are set to expire at the end of July," he said.
Lujan said the act also provides more Medicaid funding, money to reopen schools, and assistance to states such as Arizona, which faces a $1 billion tax revenue shortfall. But U.S. Senate leaders, so far, have refused to bring the Heroes Act up for a vote.
The report is online at azeconcenter.org, and the text of the Heroes Act is at congress.gov.
get more stories like this via email
BOISE, Idaho -- Wildfires are affecting air quality across the West, bringing hidden dangers in smoke that can harm people's health. The Boise-based …
DENVER -- The days of exponentially high increases in health-insurance costs may finally be in the rearview mirror. The Colorado Division of …
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Cultural institutions in the U.S. are facing scrutiny to be more accessible and inclusive. The organization in charge of Iowa's …
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Last month's deadly heat wave in the Northwest underscored the need to reduce carbon emissions, but advocates want to ensure low-…
Health and Wellness
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Health-care advocates called on Missouri lawmakers to allocate funds for Medicaid expansion right away, after the state …
AUGUSTA, Maine -- School meals in Maine will be free for all students again this year and into the future, but parents are being urged to fill out …
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A report outlines how federal efforts to bring solar energy to one in four American households could bring clean energy to …
RALEIGH, N.C. -- As more North Carolinians resume travel and take vacations this summer, most will be relying on their debit and credit cards…