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>

Like millions of Americans, Donald and Susan Sutherland love ice cream. In fact, they like ice cream so much they decided to open their own ice cream store in Tempe. What started out as a single Cold Stone Creamery 18 years ago is today a growing company with outlets in 47 states and even the Caribbean.

Everyone can probably agree that the world is a better place with more ice cream in it.

But if you were to listen to Arizona Chain Reaction, we'd all be better off without "chains" like Cold Stone Creamery.

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.

Realtors are trying to limit online real estate listings to keep out online brokers, who often charge less than the traditional full-service 6 percent commission. The U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether the practice is anti-competitive and violates anti-trust laws.  

It's time to raise a glass of wine. The Supreme Court this week declared unconstitutional state regulatory schemes that allow in-state wineries to ship directly to consumers, but ban out-of-state wineries from doing the same. The Goldwater Institute filed an amicus curiae brief in the case, arguing these anti-competitive laws violate the Commerce Clause and cannot be saved by the 21st Amendment, which ended Prohibition.

Cities throughout the valley are considering ordinances that will require fire sprinklers in new residential homes. It's no surprise that the leading proponents of such mandates are fire-sprinkler business owners.

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.

With gas prices inching ever northward and warm summer air hinting at the busy forthcoming driving season, what's a motorist to do?

First, it would be useful to realize that our record-high gas prices are really not at record highs. However much anger we may feel at the gas pump, when we account for inflation, gas prices are not nearly as high as they were for an extended period during the late 1970s. However many dollars we shell out, a dollar now is not worth as much as it was in the past, and thus we pay relatively less now in real terms.