The Phoenix-Mesa metro area just topped the Entrepreneurial Hot Cities ranking published by Entrepreneur.com and the National Policy Research Center thanks to new-business growth.
That hard-earned ranking, along with the 12,350 new companies started by Valley entrepreneurs last year, suggests that the recommendations of urban expert Joel Kotkin are on target. Kotkin argues that the best path toward continued economic growth is keeping our taxes low and regulations light. He also points out that despite the billions of dollars poured into the Phoenix downtown in the 1990s, the downtown actually lost population.
Even in the Valley as a whole, there's room for improvement. Small firms represent 97 percent of Arizona's businesses. Rather than funnel taxpayer money into favored businesses and pet projects under the pretense of job creation, the Valley should do what it can to make starting and running small businesses as easy as possible.
As an example, outdated licenses like the one currently required for auctioning could be eliminated. In today's eBay world, auctioning is an important part of many people's livelihoods. Another smart step would be doing away with the protectionist use tax, a combined 7.4 percent, which penalizes businesses for using out of city or out of state suppliers. These and similar measures will keep the fires of entrepreneurship alight.