Arizona trying to lure businesses away from Calif.

November 11, 2012 12:19:50 PM PST
San Francisco has been doing battle to bring new business to the city. But now Phoenix, Arizona is jumping into the fray, trying to bring California businesses to their city.

On election night, Governor Jerry Brown celebrated the passage of Proposition 30. 54 percent of voters decided to raise income taxes on the state's top earners and agreed also to a hike in sales taxes.

"We think the recent tax package that was passed that really targets what we call high performers or producers from an economic perspective will really start to dislodge the serial CEO and Management talent from the Silicon Valley," said Barry Broome, chairman and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC).

In a bid to turn that into an opportunity, the GPEC launched a new program this week aimed at luring California companies away.

"We think this is gonna happen," Broome said. "We know Virginia, North Carolina, Texas, South Carolina are gonna be in the market talking to California businesses so we want to make sure we get present an opportunity for Greater Phoenix."

Under the California 50 Program, the Phoenix group hopes to fly in 50 CEO's. They're interested in luring leaders of companies with 200 employees or more to introduce them to Arizona's lower tax structure.

"We would probably encourage them to maybe go, because once they go to a place like that, they're going to say this isn't the place I and my key people have to be," said Bay Area Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman.

Wunderman says companies here are always being courted by other cities and states. He notes that some California companies like Yelp have recently expanded into places like Scottsdale, a suburb of Phoenix. But he's not worried about companies relocating.

"We also need to realize that most of the businesses who are here, and who are the most successful here, they're not succeeding because the cost structure is the lowest, they're succeeding because they have the ability to innovate the best here," Wunderman said.

He points out that the Bay Area has very strong universities, a well-educated workforce, lots of venture capitalist investments, and of course a very good quality of life. Wunderman says all of that helps retain innovators in the Bay Area.


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