Simply put, the 2010 election results show that the American people (and Arizonans) know that government central planners cannot spend and stimulate our way out of recession and reject the notion that these same government workers are qualified to pick winners and losers in tax policy.
Arizona small businesses need some good news, and the lifting of the boot off the neck of economic growth and job creation is a good start. Let’s make “small businesses create 70 percent of new jobs coming out of a recession” less a throw-away campaign line and more a policy guideline.
As new lawmakers consider how to close the $825 million current year state budget deficit and look for policies that create jobs, they should not be distracted by the allure of paltry ribbon-cutting ceremonies for a few dozen jobs dependent on state subsidies. No, our leaders should do the hard work of lowering the cost of job creation and economic growth on the entire economy rather than the politically favored.
Don’t let any “jobs bill” of 2011 become a flaccid imitation of the failed Obama stimulus bill of 2009. The only way to recover the more than 300,000 Arizona jobs lost in this recession is to unleash all sectors of our economy — not just the big boys or this season’s economic development fad.
Here are some of the policies our new leadership team at the Arizona Capitol should adopt:
• Stop punishing the locating of private sector employers in Arizona by passing across-the-board real property tax reductions for businesses.
• Spur reinvestment in and modernization of equipment by significantly increasing the exemption from the business personal property tax — one of the most counter-productive taxes on the books.
• Slash the corporate income tax rate to one that is no higher than the top personal income tax rate.
Benefiting from the misery in California (Jerry Brown again, really?) is not a long-term growth strategy for Arizona. Neither is taxing the businesses already here to subsidize the businesses that are not a sustainable strategy.
Arizona needs bold leadership to pull the state’s economy out of the ditch we find ourselves in. The voters’ verdict from the 2010 elections should show us the way.
— Farrell Quinlan is the state director for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).