Arizona Town Hall Session III & IV

Yesterday I asked for feedback on Sessions I & II.  Today I am asking the same for Sessions III & IV.  I will be posting the questions for discussion here in hope that you will respond back to them on your own blog and leave a comment pointing to it or comment directly here.  I will do my best to make sure your voice is heard even if it contradicts my own opinion on the subject.

Session III – Getting the Jobs We Want and Funding

  1. What specific types of jobs does Arizona wish to attract and retain to provide the ideal economy for its people?  Consider: differences in urban, rural and tribal areas; how jobs interact with quality of life and the environment; factors unique to Arizona, such as its weather, geography, natural resources (including water), and tribal populations.  Also consider both small and large employers.
  2. What general factors are most important in attracting and retaining the types of jobs Arizona wants?  Consider, for example, physical infrastructure (including transportation), educational institutions, a trained and literate workforce, “sense of place”, cultural opportunities, climate, political structures, laws, taxes, and any other factors. To what extent does Arizona currently focus on these factors?  Which factors offer the best opportunities for attracting and retaining the types of jobs Arizona wants?
  3. What incentives specific to the creation, retention and recruitment of preferred jobs in Arizona have the best results?  Why?  Consider tax breaks, government support, research and development support, start-up incubators and the role of universities among others. To what extent are we able to measure the effectiveness of such incentives? How well does Arizona utilize such incentives to achieve the best mix of quality jobs?  Where are the best opportunities for improvement?  What are the greatest challenges for improvement, and how can these challenges best be resolved?
  4. What public and private resources currently are available to support economic development that leads to the creation, retention and recruitment of preferred jobs?  What actions, if any, should be taken to increase, diversify or stabilize funding for economic development?  What factors present barriers to the optimal development of funding for economic development?  How can barriers best be overcome?

Session IV – Getting There: Setting Priorities and Taking Action (It is my hope that I will have posted sessions I & II for you :))

  1. Based on your discussions over the last two days, what are the most important actions that should be taken to sustain and develop Arizona’s economy and position Arizona to compete effectively with other economies throughout the world for jobs, capital investment, and other desired economic activities?
  2. How should the actions identified in response to the previous question be prioritized?  Which of these actions should we take immediately?  Which actions should be taken over a longer period of time?  Why?
  3. What is the most effective way to ensure that the actions identified in this session are implemented?  What is each Arizonan’s role and responsibility in this process?  How can individuals fulfill the roles and responsibilities identified in response to the prior question as members of business, government or other organizations?  What is the role of entities, including businesses, government, organizations and others in accomplishing these actions?

After the final plenary session I plan to post any data they give back to us.  Thanks for playing along at home!

4 Comments

  1. A general statement and probably does not directly address any of these points. But for me startup capital seems to be the most in need.

    I know i/we are spoiled at gangplank with the talent resources within earshot. I could give you 20 names of talented folks that with some financial cushion to focus for 90 days could turn that idea into a possible business, a business that would pay taxes and hire technical employees at modest to high wages.

    Essentially Arizona needs “student loans” or “pell grants” for the entrepreneur. Instead of spending it at ASU, they could incubate their own ideas in a structured mentorship program at places like gangplank.

  2. We are asking the same f-g questions over and over again, when we all know the answers. We want technology jobs, health care jobs, green jobs, and helping professions.
    On the reservations, and in the rural areas, we need better education, which means statewide broadband. It’s about infrastructure: broadband, mass transportation, etc. If we start with infrastructure, we will get to everything else: that’s why it’s called infrastructure.

    We need more than a five year commitment (the length of a real estate down cycle) to economic development efforts to support small, local businesses with capital and services until they grow. Even Microsoft didn’t grow overnight and Amazon took almost ten years to be profitable. Capital should be available to small businesses to help them grow.

    Incubators are a help, but they can’t do everything, because people actually should graduate from them. Then what? Entrepreneurs should be revered, or they won’t continue to start things here.

    Start with what’s already here: TGen, Gangplank, and the things we’ve already started. Get behind them, before we re-brand or start something new. SUPPORT WHAT ALREADY EXISTS.

    Tax breaks are not necessary if businesses make money.

  3. III.1 Less financial and real estate players, we have plenty of good ones. More businesses built upon creating new ideas, new experiences, new products. Consider attracting entertainment, media and gaming companies. As industrial age companies layoff well-paid people who show up and push papers, attract new economy companies that can leverage the untapped talents of smart people looking for new work and a new start creating something special that others enjoy.

    III.2 Reduce the corporate taxes that incentivize large companies to build their HQ’s elsewhere. Larger companies will bring well-paid employees who will make up the difference in personal income taxes.

    III.3 See above, also fund people who are making it happen today. Gangplank is both a physical place and a rallying point for new economy talent. Provide infrastructure and funding to grow these initiatives that are working.

    III.4 Texas has a fund to literally close deals with businesses that are moving in, a dedicated fund that would tip the scales in a close battle for new economy businesses might help. Ideally, this fund is built via a trust and a foundation vs hitting the depleted state budget.

    IV.1, 2 & 3 Once business arrives or grows from the ground up, talent is required to fuel the grow of the business. Rewiring education to focus on the creative arts, training teachers to develop curriculum that focuses on students generating their own answers vs entirely wrote memorization of someone else’s answers are critical to form the workforce of Arizona’s tomorrow.

  4. III.2

    Embrace change. My interactions with business and government in Arizona are full of resistance to change.

    – “That’s not the way we do it.”
    – “The policy doesn’t support that.”
    – “We have a new initiative…” that looks the same as what they were doing before.

    A specific example: The course on basic computer use in Gilbert Public School District high schools teaches the student to recognize modems, floppy disks and Zip drives. And they are one of the best districts in the state. Even the curriculum does not change to keep up with reality.

    The world moves at a much faster pace today. Our institutions of learning and business need to move ahead of that pace. We are not even keeping up, right now.

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