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.
The recent political squabble in Arizona over whether to extend unemployment benefits from 79 weeks to 99 weeks underscores a broader problem with the unemployment insurance (UI) system in the U.S. today.
The system was created in the 1930s and was designed to be centralized. The states collect unemployment insurance taxes and send the money to the federal government. Although states control the tax rates, benefit levels, and eligibility requirements, the federal government controls the money.
Arizonans are facing down a speeding locomotive of utility rate hikes. This runaway train is fueled both by increasing demand for electricity and by regulation that forces utilities to generate electricity from costly sources. Worse, the current system of state-sanctioned electrical utility monopolies ties consumers to the tracks--giving them no choice but to pay whatever rates are forced upon them.
How can we ensure that even the world's poorest children have a chance to go to school? University of New Castle professor James Tooley offers a surprising answer in his new book, "The Beautiful Tree."
The Arizona League of Cities recently threatened to file a lawsuit because the Arizona Legislature imposed a two-year moratorium on development impact fees during Governor Brewer's special session. The League argues that the fee freeze is unconstitutional because it had nothing to do with the budget issues the special session was called to address. But the League's challenge should fail because the fee freeze is no different than a targeted tax cut and no more out of place during the special session than a targeted tax hike.
Many aspects of environmental and energy policy divide the authors of this column. But we join together to urge the Arizona Corporation Commission not to squelch an innovative approach to solar energy that benefits private and public entities alike.
Arizona’s consumption of electrical power has been growing at about three times the rate of the United States’ as a whole. Unless we open the market to let more suppliers in, Arizonans will be at risk of electricity shortages, spiraling prices and miss out on the benefits of innovation in renewable energy spurred by competition for their business. That’s why the Goldwater Institute recommends restructuring Arizona’s electricity markets for competition.
Stroll into a car lot these days and you’re sure to get a warm reception, maybe free popcorn and soft drinks, and definitely plenty of attention. Car dealers are among the businesses hardest-hit by the recession.
So Chandler used-car dealer Tracy Tingue decided he needed to spice things up to attract attention and business. He bought and displayed eye-catching, but clothed, mannequins outside his lot holding “BIG SALE” signs. And it worked—customer visits and sales increased.
Arizona state parks continue to make news and be used as a pawn in the budget chess game. Budget reductions approved by the legislature in December will likely result in some park closures. Parks that make money like Kartchner Caverns, Slide Rock, and Lake Havasu will stay open, while money losers will close. Many legislators continue to decry budget reductions to the Parks department, but also refuse to look at realistic alternatives.
It was like a scene from Atlas Shrugged: Polly Shaw of China-based Suntech told an Arizona House Government Committee hearing that massive solar production subsidies and even bigger consumer subsidies were not enough. If the Legislature passed House Bill 2701 and repealed the Arizona Corporation Commission’s rules that require utility companies to purchase increasing amounts of solar energy over the next 15 years regardless of the projected $1.2 billion cost to consumers, her company would pull its operations and a few dozen jobs from the state.