Arizona has much greater potential for job creation than it currently realizes. The state legislature's tired approach to economic development is just to race to the bottom: cutting taxes for specific industries while undermining the many other elements that could attract businesses to Arizona.
Ken worked in business attraction as the Director of the State Energy Office. He heard many times when speaking to companies considering a move to Arizona that, even if the state handed out more tax credits for their industry, company owners did not believe they could find the skilled workforce that they needed. Further, they did not trust that the more ideological elements of the Arizona legislature could be trusted to make consistent public policy.
If Arizona doesn't do a better job of educating its work force, future state revenue will drop as new generations earn even less income, thus creating a self-fulfilling prophesy of economic stagnation. A reduction in per capita income of less than one percent will result in more than a 4 percent reduction in per capita state revenue. (1)
Fight to support Career and Technical Education in order to build a stronger, highly-tailored workforce.
Support changes to the state procurement standards to recognize the economic benefits of "buying locally". For every $100 spent with a locally-owned business, about $42 stay in the state to contribute to further job growth. That same money spent outside of Arizona contributes only $13 to our state's economy.(2)
Reform the Arizona tax code to result in a broader tax base. Arizona has been moving toward a more regressive, sales tax preference for decades. Arizona can lower the tax burden on the middle class while re-balancing the three legs of its tax revenue system.
Build an alliance to create a single state-wide policy for the creation of Tax Increment Financing, which allows cities and towns to focus economic development geographically.
(1) Arizona Indicators, Morrison Institute for Public Policy, www.arizonaindicators.org.