A united message: Arizona is open for business

Gov. Jan Brewer’s proclamation — “Arizona is open for business” — should be a rallying point for Arizona businesses.

“Government can’t create jobs … only the free market can,” said Brewer as she laid out an agenda packed with economic development specifics in her State of the State Luncheon/Address Jan. 12 at the Tucson Convention Center.  Overarching comments on state budget and a looming $5 billion deficit dominated the first half of her speech, but during the second half she spoke passionately of shoring up the economy through private sector involvement.

Brewer cited several economic accomplishments or “strategic wins.” On the top of her list: Suntech Power, China’s largest solar panel manufacturer, which plans to begin production of its first American plant near Phoenix in the third quarter and it plans to eventually employ 200.

Brewer emphasized commitment to development of solar and renewable energy manufacturers and touted the success of Arizona’s renewable energy business tax incentives. Importantly, she announced several initiatives, such as forming a governor’s job cabinet focused on cutting government red (and green) tape to stimulate job creation, creating a business and industry advisory council to boost the state Department of Commerce, and directing federal stimulus funds for job training.

In addition, she said that state government is not suited for our state’s second century. She is proposing a commission that will assess government processes with an eye to eliminate, streamline or privatize.

Brewer’s job push is welcome news to a state that has been sorely lacking a straightforward, unified economic development message. But she can’t do it alone. Arizonans, especially business owners and managers, must embrace the message and become involved.

Businesses and manufacturers setting up operations in our state benefit existing Arizona businesses directly with vendor possibilities and indirectly from increased economic activity. To take full advantage of the governor’s commitment to positioning Arizona as the solar leader, businesses should learn about solar and renewable energy — it’s more than panels on rooftops. Read the news. Attend conferences. An understanding of the industry and its potential can help you identify how your business can dovetail with new industries and technologies coming to our state.

Likewise, as Brewer’s group seeks to identify services that can be outsourced or eliminated, Arizona businesses must be poised to provide those services.

However, the best way to help recharge Arizona’s economy is to adopt and exude the attitude that Arizona is open for business and present a clear, unified message.

Ann Brown is a contributing editor to CaliberPulse.com.

(Photo taken by SearchNetMedia)


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