DiCiccio, Simplot: Jobs creation package passes Phoenix City Council - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

DiCiccio, Simplot: Jobs creation package passes Phoenix City Council

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Posted: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 3:45 pm | Updated: 1:18 pm, Wed Oct 10, 2012.

The Phoenix City Council sped up job creation by months by passing a comprehensive policy cutting red tape on the private sector. By an 8-1 vote, city leaders said no more to delays, lines and bureaucratic red tape — and yes to faster job creation.

The significant changes allow permitting to happen in 24 hours, or fewer. A business owner will be able to hire people today, not in months. And our economy? Just think what happens when people shave months off their job search, when they no longer have to wonder where their next paycheck is coming from.

Government coffers will grow as new taxpayers get paid sooner and our economic recovery shifts into hyper gear. Imagine if our entire region reduced burdens on business creators, and visualize the message we send to companies looking to relocate.

The City Council set time limits on approving plans and expanded the use of private sector professionals to move them through the approval process.

We co-chaired a 125-member citizens Ad Hoc Development Task Force, which overwhelmingly recommended the changes that could speed job creations by four months or more.

This puts Phoenix in the top tier in the country. But, we must be the absolute best at job creation. The task force will go further and look at more significant changes, like a 24-hour turnaround with inspections, lowering fees, a thorough review of permits and streamlining internal operations. Those will be presented next month.

The new jobs creation policy was supported by multiple economists, including Byron Schlomach of the Goldwater Institute and Elliott Pollack, whose economic outlooks are closely followed by cities and other governments.

“The benefits include more rapid employment growth, employment that would start sooner because of fewer delays in getting new businesses open, modestly higher wage levels due to the increased ability of Phoenix to be more attractive in competing for export related (base) jobs and lower unemployment costs as the process speeds up business opening times,” Pollack wrote in a support letter.

Increasing predictability while reducing risks and costs for start-ups and expansions means more people will attempt to do so, and more will succeed. A Florida study by the Foundation for Government Accountability determined that a one-week start-up delay costs a typical staff $2,700. That’s just payroll, not rent, financing, lost business or taxes and other costs and hassles.

One day’s delay in getting a business up and running is one more day of recession, at least for those workers.

Special thanks to task force volunteers, the city manager and his team that never said no to creative ideas, Mayor Greg Stanton for his leadership and Councilmembers Bill Gates and Thelda Williams for their guidance and insistence on being the best, and significant work behind the scene. Councilman Michael Nowakowski’s determination to make industrial projects a priority helped, as did Councilman Danny Valenzuela’s focus on small business. And, thanks to Councilman Jim Waring for his push to relieve the burden on job creators.

The action expands a program begun in 2009, which grew out of a citizens task force also co-chaired by us.

Changes were supported by architects, engineers, contractors, trade labor organizations, neighborhood activists and other groups. Mayor Jim Lane of Scottsdale already is finding ways to make his city better and to cut red tape.

• Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio represents District 6, which includes Ahwatukee Foothills. He can be reached at council.district.6@phoenix.gov or (602) 262-7491. Councilmen Tom Simplot represent Districts 4 and can be reached at council.district.4@phoenix.gov or (602) 262-7447.

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