The Valley of the Sun still has room to improve its economic development efforts despite the region’s rapid growth and success in attracting jobs, says the Valley’s new economic development coordinator.
Barry Broome, who assumed his new job as president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council in February, said the region needs a more coordinated economic development strategy and more venture capital funding to help start up companies become established and become home-grown corporations.
Also he called for a better balance in the Valley real estate strategies, providing space for job producing industries as well as retail shopping centers.
Broome, who came to Arizona from southwest Michigan, spoke about his initial impressions of the Valley Tuesday at the quarterly "Power Breakfast" for Valley business leaders at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix.
Policy coordination was the top theme emphasized by Broome, who said too many interests are randomly throwing proposals at the Arizona Legislature without sufficient analysis of how the parts fit together.
As an example, he cited the desire on the one hand of corporations such as Intel to change the sales factor used in computing their corporate income tax payments, which would have the effect of reducing their taxes, versus the demand for more taxpayer funds to support new and expanded programs.
"From (the legislators’) point of view, they are sitting in these chairs getting fed (diametrically opposed) views on policy," he said. "The business guys are talking about the sales factor, and here come the children advocates on the other side. It’s a pretty tough spot to be in."
He said legislators need balanced analyses to help them understand the impact of the various policy initiatives and how they fit into an overall strategy for developing a knowledge-based economy.
Broome sounded a note of caution about the need for tax incentives to attract business, saying that Arizona costs are relatively low, and quality of life can be just as important as low taxes in luring jobproducing investments.