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Arizona needs tax cuts, not increases, to boost economy

Arizonans struggling to find employment in these tough economic times will now have even fewer job opportunities in the months and years ahead as a result of the failure of H2250.

Unfortunately, this thoughtful legislation championed by House Speaker Kirk Adams, which would have attracted new business development and incentivized much-needed economic expansion through targeted business tax cuts, corporate income tax credits, job-training programs and new statewide enterprise zones, did not receive the support it merited from Gov. Jan Brewer.

Business, legislative and community leaders from across the political landscape understand that the only solution to solving the worst fiscal crisis in our state’s history is to create jobs and grow our economy again.

Governor Brewer opposed the jobs bill, while at the same time supporting higher taxes on small businesses, property owners and local manufacturers. In her drive for a misguided 18 percent sales tax increase that will cost tens of thousands of Arizona jobs, the governor missed the chance to set the stage for our long-term economic recovery by making our state a more competitive and attractive place to start and grow a business.

Instead, she made a political calculation and concluded that any support for a tax cut for businesses would jeopardize her months-long campaign for a sales tax increase. This type of short-term thinking merely underscores how the professional politicians who have run this state for far too long continue to put their own political ambitions ahead of greater interests.

The Governor’s Office must take the lead in regional, national and international economic development efforts on behalf of Arizona. The Arizona Opportunity Fund incorporated into H2250, which would have empowered the governor to negotiate and award job-creation grants for infrastructure, business and community development projects, represents exactly the right kind of intelligent, pro-growth policies that will get Arizonans back to work. That is why organizations including the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, the Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, Inc. and more than two-thirds of Arizonans supported passage of this comprehensive jobs bill.

Solving our economic crisis will ultimately require creative solutions from both the public and private sectors. Our unemployed and underemployed workers would have benefitted greatly from the passage of H2250. But until Governor Brewer stops putting her own political agenda ahead of Arizona’s economic development future, we will not see any concrete action when it comes to creating high-quality jobs for a 21st century economy.

-John Munger, former state chairman of the Republican Party, is running for the Republican nomination for governor.

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