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PHOENIX-As many as 235,000 jobs could be lost if an initiative that’s on the November ballot passes and ceases all development activity, according to a study by the University of Southern California.

The measure, Proposition 202, could also prevent another 1 million jobs from being created in the future, the USC study says.

“There are very few winners,” says Peter Gordon, a University of Southern California economist and planner who led the research project. “The purported benefits of Prop. 202 we keep hearing about, such as less traffic, better air and more equity, aren’t there.”

Proposition 202 calls for every sizeable city in the state to draw growth boundaries limiting where development can occur. It would also force a two-year moratorium on construction while cities craft their boundaries.

The proposition has the backing of several civic and environmental groups, most notably the Sierra Club. Supporters of the measure discounted the USC study, noting that it was funded by Bank of America, Banc One, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and the Arizona chapter of the AFL-CIO—all of which have stated their opposition to the growth-control initiative.

Economist Gordon predicted that job numbers would remain flat through 2002, with the number of jobs lost offsetting any employment growth. The job losses would hit hardest in the construction industry, but would ripple into other sectors. Low-income workers in the service and retail industries would feel the impact first, he says.

The study is but another shot in the battle over Prop. 202, which has pitted most of the business and real estate community against environmental groups.

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