Barry Hess: I propose a single, flat 4 percent tax on the gross receipts of all corporate enterprises -
[I thought Libertarians were against taxes, ALL taxes? Taxes violate the NIFF principle - NIFF - Non Initiation of Force or Fraud]
... Immediately declare a moratorium on foreclosures [Shouldn't that be between the lender and the person received the loan - the government doesn't have any business sticking their nose into the business of two private parties ... and that is what most of these foreclosures are - contracts that say the lender gets the home if the receive of the loan doesn't make the payments]
... encouraging overproduction of electricity that can be fed back onto the grid -
[I thought Libertarians would let the free market do this, not the government]
... My plan includes a single, simple transaction tax and delivering useful services (transportation, patent sharing, etc.) -
[Again I thought Libertarians were against taxes - and against the government providing services that the private sector can provide such as transportation, patent sharing, etc.]
... I think we need to open the doors to establishing state banks
[Again I thought Libertarians were against the government getting involved in the economy and letting the private sector provide these services - I wouldn't put my money into a state bank run by a government thieve]
On question 5 Hess seems to think government run universities are OK. I thought Libertarians were against any government run schools and would get rid of government schools and replace them by private universities?
... Two years from now, I want the world to note that Arizona has ... begun construction on major projects to bring an abundant supply of water to the desert; a practical and profitable system of mass transit -
[Again I thought Libertarians were against the government getting involved in these projects and letting the private sector do these things. The CAP or Central Arizona Project is a huge overpriced government boondoggle that brings water to Phoenix and Tucson. AMTRACK, the valley's light rail project and even Valley Metro are all government run transportation project that lose money like crazy and are anything but profitable.]
3 governor candidates share ideas for Arizona's economic development
The next governor of Arizona will wear many hats. But none may be as important in this down economy as that of chief economic-development officer.
In fact, the job description for this role might read: "The ideal candidate will develop and implement an economic-development strategy that provides Arizona with a solid base on which to grow a more diversified and resilient economy. He/she is a 'big picture' strategic thinker who has a proven track record in bringing diverse groups of interests and people together. He/she has excellent interpersonal skills to negotiate, build partnerships and represent all Arizonans."
The next governor will help determine how fast Arizona's economy gets back on track and whether the state can build a more diversified economy that is less reliant on housing construction and population growth.
Consider the challenges facing the winner of the Nov. 2 election:
- Arizona has lost 335,000 jobs since late 2007.
- Half of the state's mortgages are underwater.
- The state faces a budget deficit of .4 billion next year.
- More than one out of five Arizonans lives in poverty, or nearly 1.4 million residents. Only Mississippi is worse.
- The state's 9.7 percent unemployment rate ranks 36th in the country.
The good news is that the state is starting to create jobs, but economists project that the road to recovery will be long.
Viewpoints asked the three leading candidates for governor - Republican Jan Brewer, Democrat Terry Goddard and Libertarian Barry Hess - to outline their economic-development plans by responding to seven questions.
As governor, what would your role be as Arizona's chief economic-development officer?
Jan Brewer: Quality job creation has been a top priority of mine as governor. My basic philosophy is that government needs to get out of the way of job creators - our innovators. State government's role is to provide a stable and business-friendly education, tax and regulatory environment in which employers can grow.
The role of the governor is to serve as the top economic-development leader and promoter for the state. The new Arizona Commerce Authority, which replaces the current Department of Commerce, will provide the long-term economic strategy that will survive different administrations and have the sole focus of job creation and retention.
Terry Goddard: As governor, Job No. 1 will be attracting jobs back to our state and getting Arizonans working again. I will be Arizona's "economic ambassador," whose job is to spend every minute reaching out, persuading, cajoling, explaining and finding new and expanded business opportunities, closing those deals and bringing them home to Arizona. I will veto any law that harms Arizona's economy.
I will lead the shift away from a construction-dominated economy to a more diverse economic base that includes a robust knowledge sector as well as renewable energy and technology. I will lead us to a new level of excellence in education. A highly skilled, highly trained workforce and exceptional schools constitute the very best kind of economic-development tool, and Arizona has lagged behind other states too long.
Finally, I will lead the reform of our tax system. We must never give away more in tax breaks than we get back in new business.
Barry Hess: To provide constitutional leadership and guide the Legislature in regaining the confidence of the citizenry by making it clear that they have an ally on the Ninth Floor.
To provide political stability to the business community. A sense of certainty is essential for healthy growth and expansion. I propose a single, flat 4 percent tax on the gross receipts of all corporate enterprises and removing most of the regulations, restrictions and obstructions that currently hinder new and small businesses.
To encourage new and innovative start-ups by clearing the way to the marketplace.
What are the three most important actions you would undertake in your first six months of office to help reignite Arizona's economy?
Goddard: The first and most important action I will take is to stop the attack on our schools. The devastating cuts already done to K-12 and university education have put Arizona at a severe competitive disadvantage. Jan Brewer plans to take even more out of the education budget. I will not.
We can and must balance the current-year budget without doing any more damage to schools. Again, the best economic investment we can make is to have a highly trained workforce and excellent schools - both will attract new business and new jobs to Arizona.
Second, I will implement my Emergency Jobs Recovery and Economic Development plan. Ninety-five percent of it can be accomplished with no cost to the state. We need to use state deposits to stimulate lending and begin a vibrant venture-capital program. I will immediately introduce the legislation necessary. My plan will bring 300,000 new jobs to Arizona by 2014.
Third, I will stop the war being waged by Jan Brewer on tourism. Reckless, false statements about violence in Arizona have driven away vacationers and convention business as well as potential investors. I will work with the business community to restore Arizona's positive public image. I will stop the silly remarks and actions that make us the laughingstock of the nation.
Hess: I will immediately seek to ease the suffering brought on by the depression by eliminating personal-income and property taxes. Putting money back into the pockets of the people who worked for it to stimulate the economy in sectors government couldn't hope to reach, and to determine which businesses provide a valuable product or service to the marketplace.
Immediately declare a moratorium on foreclosures and move to settle property claims by demanding strict adherence to chain-of-title laws and awarding clear title to Arizona homeowners where "lenders" have evaded county filing fees by "registering" titles out of state.
Pardon all non-violent, victimless crime "offenders" to alleviate the taxpayer's expense of their (and their families') care. This step alone could balance our current budget.
Brewer: 1. Enact tax cuts targeted at job creation. Tax reform should be focused on attracting high-quality, high-paying jobs to Arizona. That means we need to reform our tax structure in those areas where we are not competitive with our neighboring states and those states we compete against repeatedly for new business (e.g., Texas). I support providing tax cuts targeted at businesses that create jobs in the short term and larger across-the-board tax cuts in the longer term to stimulate our economy.
2. Complete the revamp of the Arizona Department of Commerce. We are reorganizing the current Department of Commerce into a quasi-public/private agency called the Arizona Commerce Authority solely focused on job creation and retention with the tools it needs to succeed. For example, we should maintain the job-closing fund I created. I devoted millions of dollars from discretionary monies under my control to help close business-relocation deals. Other states, such as Texas, have such a fund, and Arizona needs one, too.
3. Regulatory reform. We have had a regulatory-moratorium policy in place since my first full day in office. Our job creators shouldn't need to worry about complying with new, non-critical government regulations during the economic downturn.
What can be done to help ensure that Arizona can prosper without relying upon the state's historic "boom and bust" underpinnings of population growth and housing construction?
Hess: While I'm confident my competitors will interpret this question to refer to state government, my focus is on the prosperity of its citizens. Eliminating individual taxes, removing regulations that hinder small business, encouraging overproduction of electricity that can be fed back onto the grid for profit by individual homeowners and growing cash crops on their property can serve to insulate them from economic cycles.
For the state, I believe it needs to be flexible in its expenditures to reflect the economy at any given time. My plan includes a single, simple transaction tax and delivering useful services (transportation, patent sharing, etc.) to restrain runaway legislative spending and provide a year-in-advance (which gains through investment) budget to keep it running without sudden crisis situations.
Brewer: Arizona needs to complete its portfolio of types of businesses in its second century. The new Arizona Commerce Authority will be focused on growing four sectors: (1) science and technology; (2) aerospace and defense; (3) renewable energy; and (4) small-business innovation/entrepreneurship.
These four sectors were picked because we already have some strength or advantages in these areas.
Goddard: An important part of the answer is to invest in our schools and stop destroying them. A K-12 system that excels is the greatest asset in attracting new, high-technology, knowledge-based businesses. Investing in job training, and in university and community-college education, we ensure a workforce that is ready to handle those jobs of the future.
We must adopt a stable revenue-and-spending program. Reform of our tax code is essential to make manufacturing in Arizona competitive. I will eliminate the red tape that slows business development; support Science Foundation Arizona; and support and attract sustainable/green-business ventures.
Finally, I will enthusiastically support "Local First" to be sure our dollars stay in Arizona.
Which states do you think have done the best job in weathering the economic storms of the past two years? Are there lessons for Arizona?
Brewer: Natural-resource-based state economies (e.g., Alaska, North Dakota, Montana) did best, and states dependent on construction, services and tourism fared the worst (e.g., Arizona, California and Nevada).
The lesson for Arizona is that we should diversify our economy and never forget that economies and tax revenues will be cyclical. When the economy is good and state revenues are high, we should use those additional funds to prepare for future downturns in the economy.
The state should put those extra dollars in a robust rainy-day fund, pay down our debts, renew our capital systems, correct issues in our taxing system and make long-term investments that will improve government functionality. If those types of investments had been made during our last revenue expansion, the state would be far healthier today.
Goddard: Texas and Massachusetts are states that have fared relatively well during this recession. Their advantages are good education systems, diversity of economy and support for innovative business programs.
Hess: In economic terms, there's no doubt which states have done the best job - the ones that have burdened their citizens least by not having an income tax and who have kept their property-tax impositions to a minimum. I believe North Dakota is the only state that has maintained a surplus in state coffers.
I think we need to open the doors to establishing state banks where local monies are invested in-state. Shucking off reliance and dependence on the federal government is absolutely essential to economic stability.
What, if anything, do you need from the three state universities to help Arizona achieve your economic-development goals? Goddard: Our state universities have excellent worldwide reputations and centers of excellence and innovation. We must not abandon them because of short-term economic pressures.
Our universities must graduate more medical and STEM (science, technology, education and math) professionals. Universities in Arizona must also, through partnerships with school districts, help nurture and develop the K-12 system.
Hess: Instead of working on hypothetical problems, I'd like to see students from the various schools contributing to and participating in real state projects, in accord with the specialties of each.
I believe that funding should come with a return to taxpayers.
This idea would not only save hundreds of millions of dollars spent hiring outside firms but would also build solid resumes and work experience for the students themselves in preparation for outside employment upon graduation. For instance, utilizing the School of Architecture to design buildings, roads and infrastructure; Agriculture, to assist the farming community; Forestry to help maintain our forests, etc.
Brewer: Our universities play the dual role of educating and preparing students and innovating and growing our economy. A good example of that second role is how SunTech Power Holdings, one of the world's largest solar-panel manufacturers, decided to open this month its first U.S. manufacturing plant in Goodyear, in part because of ASU's renowned facility for testing and certifying solar-energy equipment.
A particular interest of mine is to expand university and private-incubator/accelerator programs to develop more Arizona-grown businesses from university research. For example, the highly successful Ventana Medical Systems headquartered in Oro Valley was founded by a professor at the University of Arizona Medical Center and is now a world leader in its field.
Do you have a vision for how Arizona could work with Mexico in terms of economic development, tourism and trade?
Hess: Yes, but we must first openly establish that the goal of each government is to serve the betterment and enrichment of their respective citizens. Most importantly, I'd seek to bring peace to the issues that currently raise contention and strife, like the drug- and human-smuggling trades.
Making trade, passage of labor and commerce as easy for all as is possible is essential for mutually rewarding benefits, as is eliminating the legal prohibitions that foster black markets and criminal activity.
It must be clear that entitlement programs and state services are only available to those who contribute to them and insist upon equal-trading terms between nations, without exception.
Brewer: My vision is of a border region and beyond that works - one that is both safe and accessible - and enhances both the competitiveness and quality of life for Arizona and Mexico.
First, our cross-border economic development, trade and especially tourism will not thrive amidst lawlessness. Our national policy makers on both sides of the border must address this issue and pursue it seriously and expeditiously.
Second, our border regions must be accessible so that trade and tourism may occur. For example, a new port of entry in San Luis is almost ready to open. Ports are not just about security but also about the efficient and legal movement of goods and people that will help our region become more competitive.
In short, what was said over 50 years ago about Arizona's relationship with Mexico still holds true today: "God made us neighbors; let us be good neighbors."
Goddard: I share the vision established by Paul Fannin more than 50 years ago when he created the Arizona-Mexico Commission. "God made us neighbors; let us be good neighbors."
We must revitalize our trade relationships with Mexico and find new ways in which Arizona businesses can meet the needs of Mexican markets. We must continue the work under way to modernize and streamline our ports of entry to shorten wait lines and facilitate a better flow of trade between our countries.
Four years from now, what do you want leading business executives and entrepreneurs around the world to be able to say about Arizona's economy and the opportunities for their businesses to locate and operate here?
Brewer: That Arizona's students, education system and workforce are internationally competitive. Without an educated workforce, Arizona will not be able to sustain the creation of higher-paying quality jobs we desire in a more diversified economy. This is even more important because more educated workers will want to locate in a state where their children will be well-educated.
Goddard: Four years from now, I want the world to know, loud and clear, that Arizona is open for business. That we are a safe and friendly environment for new enterprise. That state government is no longer driving our schools to the bottom of the national rankings but is on a course to take Arizona educational achievement to the top 10 in the country.
That state government respects our tourism and hospitality industry and is intent on a positive image for our state around the world. That we have an equitable, highly competitive business-tax structure. That we celebrate our parks and open spaces, which are second to none in America. The Arizona brand is once again synonymous with opportunity for all willing to work and excel.
Hess: One week from now, I want the people of Arizona to grasp the power of true vision, imagination, determination and commitment to reach higher for an exciting and optimistic future.
One year from now, I want the world to note that the taint of racism, border problems, a failed educational system and mortgage fraud have been resolved and there is harmony, unity and pride.
Two years from now, I want the world to note that Arizona has eliminated income and property taxes on her citizens; begun construction on major projects to bring an abundant supply of water to the desert; a practical and profitable system of mass transit that doubles as a major tourist attraction/revenue stream for state government; has become the epicenter of "green" energy production and storage technology; and offers citizens the chance to develop their ideas.
Four years from now, I want them to say, "Why didn't we do what Arizonans did?"