Improving Arizona’s Job Market

If there is anything the legislature should be focusing on, it’s helping the state attract and retain businesses. That means a few things. First, the state should look at what its competitive advantages are and exploit them. A few examples are renewable energy (growth industries), the border with Mexico (foreign trade), our aerospace and space industries (defense and space science), and our health care industries. These industries provide high-paying jobs that can be filled by Arizonans. The one caveat is that in order to make sure Arizonans get these jobs, we must have a world-class educational system that produces the workers these businesses need. Our current majority doesn’t think that’s a priority, I do.

Second, The legislature should be attracting, not attacking jobs creators, entrepreneurs and growing businesses and industries. For example, we need to get off this kick of trying to kill renewable energy in our state. It’s the only industry creating new jobs and with Arizona’s abundant and free sunlight, there’s no reason we should be undermining this important and exportable product and industry. There is no other industry in the state that has such a unique competitive advantage and therefore puts Arizona in the lead for renewable energy projects. We could export power to neighboring states. We could add thermal solar generation to our state’s natural gas plants and create a unique fleet of hybrid power generating plants that offer the best of both energy worlds and that help keep energy rates low for consumers and businesses.

Third, Arizona has so much to offer, but we have to be smart and deliberate about our job development strategies and that includes looking realistically at incentives, tax breaks, tax rates, etc. to make sure we’re competitive in the right ways. For too long we’ve focused mostly on those strategies that are politically popular or expedient. We should look and see what works and what doesn’t. If a strategy can prove itself, then we should consider it. If not, then we must look to something else. We have to stop being the economic science project for every idea special interest think tank cooks up. If economic reports are any indicator, it’s not clear they’re working very well at all.

Finally, small business is the engine that creates the most new jobs. Our state has implemented policies and laws that drive people out of the state and have given our state a black eye when it comes to business reputation and a welcoming attitude. If tourists and business people don’t feel welcome somewhere, they won’t come. And who suffers the most? Small business does. That has to stop.

As your state representative, I’ll work hard to help push for policy changes and the passage of laws that help Arizona benefit from our unique competitive advantages. I’ll work with business owners and managers to help them identify and compete in new markets. I’ll ask the tough questions and use the rules of the House to stop bills that harm small business from being passed. We can’t wait any longer to do better. We must start now.