“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
During her State of the State address in Phoenix today, Brewer called for a repeal of state sales taxes on power manufacturers use to create products. Brewer said a number of states Arizona competes with for manufacturing jobs do not have such levies.
“That puts our current manufacturers – and ones we hope to recruit – at a disadvantage,” Brewer said of the Arizona tax. “I’m asking you to send me legislation to eliminate this tax and increase Arizona’s competitive edge.”
Getting rid of the tax would help manufacturers including Apple which is locating a domestic production plant in Mesa at DMB Associates’ Eastmark development at the former GM Proving Ground.
Apple already is in line for reduced property taxes for the plant. The technology giant could pay a 5 percent rate instead of the 19.5 percent paid by most companies. Intel Corp. and some other businesses located in special economic zones also pay the 5 percent rate eyed for Apple.
The governor needs the Arizona Legislature to eliminate the energy tax.
Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry President and CEO Glenn Hamer welcomed Brewer’s push for manufacturing tax breaks as well as her calls to tie state school funding more to student performance rather than attendance.
“We’ve made major reforms to our tax and regulatory structure that have put Arizona at the top of the list for companies looking to make new investments,” Hamer said. “I am encouraged that she said increasing our competitiveness in the manufacturing sphere and making moves to reward schools for student achievement are major parts of her legislative agenda this year.”
An Apple representative did not respond to a request for comment.
Apple has secured major tax breaks from other U.S. states — including Texas — where it has located data centers and other operations hubs.
The future of the troubled Child Protective Services agency was the biggest issue in Brewer’s last State of the State before leaving office next year.
Brewer wants to dissolve CPS and take it out of the Department of Economic Services after revelations last year that state social workers ignored thousands of child abuse complaints. The governor is creating a new cabinet level department, Division of Child Safety and Family Services, to replace CPS and be charged with investigating child abuse complaints.
“It is evident that our child welfare system is broken – impeded by years of structural and operational failures,” Brewer said. “It breaks my heart and makes me angry.”
Dana Wolfe Naimark, president and CEO of the Children’s Action Alliance, wants lawmakers to consider the fiscal impact of business tax cuts proposed by Brewer when they are looking at ways to improve CPS and its planned successor agency. CPS has long struggled with low-pay for case managers.
“We urge lawmakers to have a robust and rigorous discussion about all proposed fiscal policies to examine whether any new tax cuts will bring the results they promise and what impact they will have on future resources for Child Protective Services and education,” Naimark said.
Brewer, a Republican finishing her second term, touted the state’s economic recovery from the recession including job gains and new centers being opened by Apple, State Farm andGeneral Motors in the East Valley.
Arizona lost 314,000 jobs during the recession, according to Arizona State Universityeconomist Lee McPheters. The state has recouped 144,000 of those jobs — or about 46 percent — and has 170,000 jobs to still regain.
Hamer said Brewer has worked hard to recoup those jobs via tax changes and other business friendly policies. “I believe we’ve done more than any other state in the union to boost our competitiveness,” Hamer said.
Across the aisle, Democratic and left-leaning advocates say the state has a long way to go on issues such as poverty, jobs and schools.
Robbie Sherwood, executive director of ProgressNow Arizona, pointed out the state ranks poorly in measures such as poverty, school performance and children impacted by foreclosures. Sherwood also faulted the governor for the state spending only 6 percent of a $268 million federal allotment to help homeowners facing foreclosure.
Mike Sunnucks writes about politics, law, airlines, sports business and the economy.
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