ARIZONA

Economic package nears agreement

Arizona House Speaker Kirk Adams says Gov. Jan Brewer and top Republican legislative leaders are near agreement on a package of business tax cuts and other steps intended to boost economic development, The Associated Press reports.

Adams says key elements of an agreement are in place and that details could be worked out as early as next week. He says he discussed the topic during a lunch meeting Thursday with Brewer and Senate President Russell Pearce.

Brewer has said she may call lawmakers into a concurrent special session on the subject, and Adams said that's still a possibility.

Other elements of the package are expected to include reorganizing the Commerce Department into a quasi-private authority.

A Senate committee on Thursday endorsed four bills for business tax cuts. Versions could be included in the package.

The Finance Committee voted in favor of four bills for a corporate income tax reduction and business-friendly changes to income and property taxes.

Majority Republicans voted for the bills, while the committee's Democratic members voted against the bills for the most part.

Republicans said lowering business taxes will spur economic development and job creation. Democrats expressed concern about losing revenue to pay for education.

And Maricopa County Assessor Keith Russell expressed concern about property tax changes that he said would shift tax burdens to homeowners.

TUCSON

C-Path, consortium open training facility

After recently forming a partnership to set new clinical data standards for new medical therapies, the Tucson-based Critical Path Institute (C-Path) and the Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium have opened a collaborative training facility at C-Path's offices at 1730 E. River Road in Cambric Corporate Center.

In late January, the groups conducted the first in an ongoing series of classes aimed at data managers, clinical programmers, and others interested in learning and using U.S. Food and Drug Administration-sanctioned common data elements in biomedical research. The session included attendees from diverse professional backgrounds representing 14 organizations from the U.S. Canada and South Korea, C-path said.