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AZ Week Notebook


Glenn Hamer, president and ceo of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will discuss the state's economy and incentives for getting it moving on Arizona Week Friday.

The program will focus on state efforts at economic development, including a package of business tax cuts and Gov. Jan Brewer's soon-to-be-announced economic development package. Her spokesman said today that package could be unveiled as early as Monday.

After Hamer is interviewed, economist Jim Rounds will appear to offer analysis of state economic development efforts. Rounds is senior vice president and senior economit at Elliott D. Pollack & Co., an economic and real estate consulting firm in Scottsdale.

Glenn Hamer Jim Rounds Elliott D Pollack and Co,


Republican leaders in the Arizona Legislature say their proposals to cut business taxes will make the state more competitive and encourage job creation.

But will they? Depends on whom one talks to and what information one considers. Hence, the answer is definitive: yes, maybe, no.

First, lower taxes are a good thing, in general, and they certainly are part of the mix of what businesses consider when choosing location and making expansion and hiring decisions.

But they are not the be all to end all, according to numerous economists. Let's quote just one, Dennis Hoffman, director of the L. William Seidman Research Institute at Arizona State University. In a report he and colleague Tom Rex wrote in November 2008, they said:

"Nearly any position on the relationship between taxes and economic performance is supported in the published literature. However, the bulk of the modern literature indicates that taxes have only a small effect on economic growth."

The report goes on to say: "Generally, tax burdens must be far out of line with competitor regions before much of an effect on the economy can be measured. ... In general, tax policy is an inefficient way to stimulate the economy. Investment in infrastructure and education has been shown to have a greater effect on economic growth."

By anecdote, one can surmise that tax cuts have had little effect on national job growth. It has been widely reported that the Bush administration tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 were followed by creation of far fewer jobs than the administration projected. Additionally, those tax cuts -- and more -- remain in effect today, and job creation can be described as lagging at best, anemic at worst.

Discussion and study of the issue is important as the Legislature stands ready to approve the tax cuts, and Gov. Jan Brewer is poised, perhaps, to call a special legislative session to consider a comprehensive economic development package.

Dennis Hoffman Tom-Rex Job Growth tax-cuts,


Arizona Week is exploring for Friday's program the state Legislature's package of business tax cuts, working their way through committees and to the floors of both chambers soon.

A series of bills, with slight differences in the House and the Senate, would reduce what multi-state corporations must pay in states taxes on their sales, reduce the corporate income tax rate and reduce property tax rates on business real estate and business equipment. The reductions would be phased in over the next several years.

The idea is to create a business-friendly atmosphere that will attract new businesses to the state and more jobs. It's a key part of Gov. Jan Brewer's larger economic development strategy, to be led by the state's newly formed Commerce Authority.

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee analyzed the the bills and estimated that at full implemented, six years from now, they would have reduced corporate taxes paid to Arizona by $475 million total. That's 5.5 percent of the current state budget.

The committee has not released estimates of numbers of jobs that would be created -- and thus increased state revenues from them and more business in Arizona -- by implementing the tax cuts.

We will detail the tax cuts package, what it means for businesses and seek expertise for Friday's program to show what kind of an ROI -- return on investment -- there would be to the state for these cuts.


Gov. Jan Brewer wrote to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Thursday asking for a meeting to discuss her requested waiver for Arizona regarding its Medicaid standards.

It's the second letter Brewer has sent to Sebelius in a week, the first one being the actual request for the waiver.

This time, the governor said she was encouraged that Sebelius has told the nation's governors that she wants to work with them to create a sustainable Medicaid system. At the same time, Brewer expressed worry that Sebelius might be thinking that she doesn't have the authority to waive a state's Medicaid benefits requirements.

" ... you appear uncertain whether you have authority to waive maintenance of effort requirements under the law," Brewer wrote in Thursday's letter. "I believe strongly that you do."

Brewer has asked the federal government to waive Arizona's voter-imposed benefit for health care for the poor, a move that would save the state $541.5 million and be the biggest step toward a balanced budget for 2011-12.

Such a move, though, would knock 280,000 poor Arizonans off of state-supported health care and would cause the state to lose $1 billion in federal matching money. That loss would cost the state 46,700 jobs, mostly in the private sector, an Arizona State University economist has estimated.

Kathleen Sebelius Medicaid,


Tucson will be without spring training baseball this year for the first time in more than six decades.

Local economists estimated that when the city had three teams, just two years ago, their presence helped pump $30 million into the economy.

All three teams are gone now, lost to bigger, better and newer ballparks and other incentives in the Phoenix area.

Sherry Henry, executive director of the Arizona Office of Tourism, said this week she believes Tucson officials will use their creativity to replace the economic impact. She mentioned talks with professional baseball organizations in Japan and Korea and an alliance with the San Diego Padres AAA minor league team, to be known at least this coming season as the Tucson Padres.

No announcements have been made about foreign teams coming to Tucson, and the Padres are scheduled to be here for just this year, awaiting the construction of a new facility in suburban San Diego.

The $30 million in losses to the economy is a small amount, about one-tenth of 1 percent of Pima County's GDP.

But because the save baseball movement involved a cadre of recognizable Tucson business and civic leaders, from elected officials to leaders of the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, it's a blow to the collective ego that their efforts fell short.

spring-training Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce,


Here are some of the questions we will ask in our interviews today:

Is the 2011 tourism season in Arizona expected to rebound from the downturn of the last three years?

The Tucson Gem and Mineral shows and the Phoenix Open Golf Tournament are going on this week. How do they look for drawing visitors to get the season off to a good start?

Tucson will be without spring training baseball for the first time in more than 60 years. It's estimated to be a $30 million loss to the local economy. Will other attractions take up the slack, or is that a loss to Tucson?

And the Phoenix area has all the Major League teams in the state for this spring. Will there be a boost from that?

Is this week's cold weather having an impact? What about all the cold weather in other parts of the country -- is that chasing people to Arizona?

How important is the winter visitor season for Arizona's restaurants?

Are there pockets of the state doing better or worse than others when it comes to restaurant business?

About AZ Week Notebook

News and commentary from Arizona Week producer/host Michael Chihak and interns Melanie Huonker and Lucy Valencia.