Making Ariz. more competitive is key to economic, job recovery - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Commentary

Making Ariz. more competitive is key to economic, job recovery

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Posted: Friday, January 8, 2010 12:00 am

It is no secret that Arizona’s economy is struggling. During the current recession our state has lost nearly 300,000 jobs – the worst in the country. Our state budget has a $1.4 billion deficit, with another $3.2 billion facing us in fiscal year 2010. After years of population and construction growth, we’re flat in both areas with no relief in sight.

In an effort to spur the economy and promote job growth, the House Republicans announced the Arizona Economic and Job Recovery Bill. It is focused on creating a more business-friendly climate, attracting and retaining base industries, creating jobs with good pay and benefits, and providing needed tax relief to businesses and citizens.

This bill contains recommendations that are a direct result of an extensive review of the state’s economy conducted by Elliot D. Pollack, who is widely regarded as one of the state’s foremost economists. The analysis focused on Arizona’s current tax policy and economic development practices, both of which are critical to improving the state’s economy. It also analyzed other states with successful, proven economic development programs to determine best practices.

One clear conclusion of the report: Arizona is not competitive when it comes to attracting new base industry companies to the state and is challenged in retaining existing business. The Arizona Economic and Job Recovery Bill is focused on changing that.

Attracting and retaining base industries is crucial to Arizona’s turnaround efforts. A base industry includes those in high-wage sectors such as manufacturing, research and development, and high-tech companies. Some examples would be Boeing, Honeywell and Intel. These companies create both direct and indirect jobs, generate new tax revenue for the state, and create growth for local suppliers and vendors. By employing more Arizonans who will in turn spend money, base industry firms create additional revenue for the state and local businesses. In addition, each base industry job creates additional jobs in local businesses throughout the state.

Measures in this bill will make Arizona more competitive by lowering the tax burden on new companies and adding incentives for relocating to our state.

However, the Arizona Economic and Job Recovery Bill is not focused just on bringing new business to the state. It also relieves the tax burden and makes it easier to do business for existing companies. Many of the recommendations will provide immediate relief to small and large businesses and, in some cases, to Arizona citizens, as well.

We cannot budget cut our way to prosperity. And we cannot continue to spend more than we bring in. We must put into place the infrastructure that will allow us to grow our economy and jobs now. This bill is a first step in that direction. It’s geared to reverse the negative economic trends of the last several years and put Arizona and Arizonans back on a path to prosperity.

For more information, please visit our Web site at


John McComish is majority leader in the Arizona House of Representatives and former president of the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at or (602) 926-5898.

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