Business & Job Creation
Businesses need a friendly and fair business environment so they can compete, innovate, and create jobs. We’re keeping politicians from playing favorites by offering special deals and tax breaks to the favored few.
Eeyore would feel right at home in Tucson. Arizona's second city has become a rather gloomy place.
Tucson policymakers fear Tucson lacks a "vibrant core" and will never attract creative class workers that supposedly drive economic growth. If only we were more like Austin, they opine.
According to the Tucson Citizen, the Texas capitol has "rhythm and synergy;" it has a cool music scene, a hip downtown. All true, but if the goal is economic growth and jobs, Tucson is doing more things right than Austin.
Arizona Public Service Company (APS) has said that if the Arizona Corporation Commission doesn’t approve its requested 11 percent electricity rate increase, its bond rating could be at risk. Combined with APS’ January increase of five percent, the net effect on APS electricity customers will be a 16 percent increase in the first few months of the year.
The Internet is probably the greatest boon to individual liberty and entrepreneurship since Ford started churning out affordable cars. It allows people to decide where and with whom they will shop. But as a recent headline in USA Today reads, "States hope to begin taxing online sales." The newspaper continues, "the group [of 18 states] hopes to convince retailers but does not force them? to begin collecting taxes and turning it over to state governments." Merry Christmas, shoppers.
Battelle, a research firm hired to track Arizona's biotech industry, has released a report detailing the growth of biotech firms and employment in Arizona during the 2000-2004 period.
37.5 cents of every gallon of gas you buy goes to pay federal, state, and local taxes. That amounts to an annual gas tax burden of $271 for every American.
Since road construction is a state and local obligation, state or local gas taxes may make some sense. After all, people who use the highways and byways should share in paying for their construction and upkeep.
Despite the sweltering heat, there's much to love about Phoenix. It's the 16th best place in the country to do business, boasts some of the nation's most affordable housing, and has an unemployment rate well below the national average. But there's a naysayer in every crowd, and Phoenix is no exception.
Some public officials in Arizona have pinned the state's economic future on the hope of a big biotech payoff. Just last month, Governor Napolitano signed a bill creating a tax credit to subsidize investment in certain bioscience companies. But the industry's track record does little to inspire confidence.
In 2004 alone, the 330 publicly traded biotech firms posted a collective loss of $4.3 billion. Cumulative net losses since the first biotech company went public are more than $40 billion.
How much power should Arizona electric companies generate from renewable sources?
The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) thinks it has the answer: 15 percent.
The ACC has proposed requiring utilities to produce at least 15 percent of their power from solar, wind, and on-site consumer sources. But there's nothing magic about 15 percent. In fact, the number is arbitrary and expected to impose heavy surcharges on consumers to the tune of $50 million per year.
In one of his regular email correspondences, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon wrote Friday, "I said that in order to be a GREAT city, THIS city needs to excel in three areas: Education, Public Safety and Jobs."
The mayor's prescription? "This downtown Phoenix Campus of ASU is the catalyst for the first - and the foundation for the other two.
As state governments get into the biotech race, how likely is it to pay off?
As of 2001, 80 percent of responding cities and states identified the bioscience industry as one of their top two development targets. So Arizona's foray into the field is not as cutting edge as some would have you believe.