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.

<p>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.</p>

The United States economy is creating millions of new jobs, yet the average American worker is feeling the squeeze of stagnant wages and the offshoring of entire industries.

The cure? Brainpower. Innovation, more specifically.

That's the watchword for a 17-member team of national leaders in government, academia and private industry that gathered Tuesday in Phoenix as part of a meeting of the National Governors Association. The project, known as Innovation America, is to dream up new ways to turn American ingenuity into new jobs.

Prop. 202, the minimum wage initiative, would raise the statewide minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.75 per hour.

Proponents don't talk much about the other provisions in the proposition, which is understandable. There's some pretty nasty stuff in the fine print. The legal minimum wage, in principle, is government interference with our individual rights to contract with each other. If I need a job and you want some work done, we should be able to voluntarily enter into an employment contract with mutually agreed upon terms.

A proposed state law establishing a $6.75 minimum wage likely will go to voters in November, making Arizona one of several states with similar ballot issues this year.

Arizona does not have a minimum wage law, but most employers are required to abide by federal minimum wage law. The federal minimum wage, now at $5.15 an hour, hasn't been increased since 1997. Adjusted for inflation, that is about $6.25 in today's dollar.

Since Congress has declined to raise the federal minimum wage, a broad effort to take on the issue at the state level has spread across the nation.

Chandler has given Intel its blessing to borrow $350 million in tax-exempt Industrial Development Authority bonds for its $2 billion local expansion.

It's the largest such loan in city history and demonstrates Chandler's unique relationship with the computer chipmaker, the city's biggest employer.

Until now, the highest amount approved in Chandler was $28 million in 1982 for the then-Chandler Community Hospital.

A forum on direct wine shipping Tuesday at the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix was anything but a dry recitation of policy.

After a panel discussion, several supporters of direct shipment delivered animated comments and grievances to panelist Karen Gravois of the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, the only speaker not in favor of direct shipping.

"How do you justify the economic discrimination between what's available in state and what's available out of state?" asked Larry Winer of the Arizona State University law school.

There's a lot of fretting these days about the Arizona economy.

Most of the fretters take a top-down perspective. They survey Arizona's macro economy and conclude that private investors are providing too little money to some can't-miss industrial sector, inevitably high tech and, of late, usually biotech.

If true, there's an obvious killing to be made by raising or providing the funds for the overlooked opportunity.

Arizona should fix its unemployment system to stop multimillion-dollar waste due to fraud and other flaws, a Goldwater Institute report suggests.

Arizona's jobless workers get $205 a week maximum, the lowest rate in the nation, and legislators are considering increasing that amount.

The report, commissioned by the conservative think tank, will be released in late January. Oregon-based economist William B. Conerly, in an early overview Tuesday morning in Phoenix, said:

There is a popular recipe one can use when the facts don't support your conclusion. Take fear of change, add a peck of misinformation, stir in a dash of hypothetical scenarios and voil! The result, of course, is the same tired, indigestible propaganda.

This is the tactic Tom Jenney used in his May 2 guest column to attack Pima County's Inclusive Home Design Ordinance. As it turns out, however, the reality is that this ordinance is a vital ingredient to addressing the needs of our community.

Arizona's corporate and political leaders may be worrying needlessly about the relationship between the state's rapid growth and its economic future.


That's because the state's continued growth over the past decade is evidence that business opportunities and a desirable quality of life are readily available, said Robert Franciosi, director of Urban Growth and Economic Development Studies at the Goldwater Institute.

Contrary to what some critics say, Arizona's superheated growth during the 1990s was good for the economy, the conservative Goldwater Institute concluded in a policy paper released Thursday.

Robert Franciosi, an economist with the Phoenix public policy institute, cited statistics that he said dispute claims that growth brought low-paying jobs and poorly educated workers to the state, and that more government spending is necessary to improve education, revitalize downtown areas and lure "new economy" companies and workers.