Development group hears job strategy for Arizona

By Donovan Kramer | Casa Grande Dispatch

Arizona has improved its job creation tools and that is paying off for the state’s economy, Arizona Commerce Authority CEO Sandra Watson said Thursday in Casa Grande.

The state has a three-pronged approach of attracting, expanding and creating businesses, she said at the annual meeting of the Central Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation.

 Arizona Commerce Authority CEO Sandra Watson
Arizona Commerce Authority CEO Sandra Watson

“Those three things are critical to the economic future of the state,” she said.

Arizona is phasing its corporate income tax rate downward from 6.9 to 4.9 percent, reducing its commercial property tax ratio and offering a tax credit for research and development. Rural economic development grants have been part of recent announcements for plants in western Pinal County.

Arizona, which has two offices in California aimed at attracting employers, has a goal of creating 75,000 higher-wage jobs within five years, with a related impact of two to three times that many. Her department’s makeup of legislative and executive branches of government, business and academic representatives is believed to be the only such structure in the nation.

Evelyn Casuga, CAREDF president, touted the recent announcements of dairy-related plants of Franklin Foods Inc., with 59 jobs, and Commonwealth Dairy with 250, in Casa Grande. CAREDF, founded in the 1980s, is the second oldest such private-public partnership organization in Arizona.

Jim Dinkle, who became CAREDF’s executive director last year, emphasized the importance of networking and expanding existing business. He presented a video about the area prepared by Arizona Public Service Co.

Casuga is continuing as the group’s president for a second year. Other officers and board members are: First Vice President Donovan Kramer Jr., Second Vice President J.R. McEvoy, Third Vice President Rona Curphy, Secretary-treasurer HR Paddock, Past President Morris Mennenga and Casa Grande Mayor Bob Jackson, Coolidge Mayor Tom Shope, Eloy Mayor Joseph Nagy, Pinal County Board of Supervisors Chairman Steve Miller, Jennifer Alai, Michael Charles, Dennis Dugan, Edward Farrell, Denis Fitzgibbons, Coolidge City Manager Bob Flatley, Dennis Gerlach, John C. Gluch, Jason Gray, Mike Grijalva, Central Arizona College President Doris Helmich, Kirk McCarville, Eloy City Manager Ruth Osuna, Enrique Porras, Zoe Richmond, Travis Robinette, Cindy Sutton, Casa Grande City Manager Jim Thompson and K. Hope Wallace.




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February 2013