Rio Nuevo Review-O

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Attention, downtown boosters: You might want to schedule a trip to the state Capitol on Wednesday.

The Senate Finance Committee is set to review Tucson’s Rio Nuevo spending, which is the first step toward eliminating it altogether.

The Finance Committee won’t be voting on a bill; instead, they’ll be examining Tucson’s progress with downtown revitalization and making a recommendation to the Senate Appropriations Committee, which has the job of drawing up a fix for a 2010 shortfall that’s been estimated at $3 billion.

Rio Nuevo is not going to be an easy sell on Wednesday afternoon. The Senate Finance Committee includes Sen. Ron Gould, a fiscal hawk from Lake Havasu, and Sen. Barbara Leff, who has had it in for Rio Nuevo for years. As we recall, it started after Republican Kathleen Dunbar, a close pal of Leff, went up there to badmouth the city of Tucson after voters kicked her off the City Council back in 2005.

The panel also includes Sen. Ken Cheuvront, a Democrat who has frequently railed against special taxing districts.

It doesn't help that some GOP representatives from Southern Arizona--we're looking your way, Frank Antenori--have dismissed Rio Nuevo as a "boondoggle."

The meeting starts at 1:30 p.m.

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