The Economic Benefits of Business Aviation, Part III: Arizona’s Friendly Business Environment
Each year, the corporate website ChiefExecutive.net ranks all 50 states by the cost of doing business. For the last four years, California has finished last, while Arizona has landed in the top 10. California still boasts a stronghold on many of our country’s corporate headquarter sites, but rising costs and less-than-friendly business environments are giving states like Arizona a closer look.
The Tech Hub of the Southwest
Last year, I watched an interview on the Chandler, Arizona, website between Rogers Corporation CEO, Bruce Hoechner, and then Mayor Jay Tibshraeny. One of the questions posed by the Mayor was why this international technology company chose Chandler for its recent corporate headquarters relocation over cities like Austin, Denver and its former site in Rogers, Connecticut. That’s right, they moved from a city named after them to this growing Southwest tech center. Bruce cited the Valley’s transportation options (both ground and air) and solid infrastructure as two of his main objectives. He also mentions climate, education and the abundant worker pool — as well as other amenities that make the move attractive to employees and management alike.
Chandler has earned its reputation as “The Innovation and Technology Hub of the Southwest” on many fronts. One must look no further than the employment centers on the Price Corridor and at its airport/airpark area to validate its brand. The City offers a life quality that is unparalleled in the state, with award winning parks and schools, as well as a cost-of-living level among the lowest in the Phoenix Metro area. As Mr. Hoechner – and many others – have said, the talent pool in Arizona runs deep. Arizona State University and the University of Arizona continue to expand programs (including some based in Chandler) and graduate skilled workers well prepared for today’s high-tech, fast-paced work environment. While the universities provide talented and creative grads, the trades and technical sector also is well served. A strong community college system that collaborates with major employers in its programming, as well as two of the highest rated K-12 school systems in the state, provide a built-in pipeline for success.
Of course, today’s workforce also demands a number of less tangible benefits that include a live-work-play locale that Chandler delivers on. The downtown core continues to develop and grow, adding unique housing choices and an energy that few other city centers can replicate. Culture and entertainment venues include the Chandler Center for the Arts, countless galleries and museums that include a major expansion of the Chandler Museum that debuted late in 2018. Foodies enjoy a host of selections in most every ethnic category you can think of. The retail market is anchored by the Chandler Fashion Center – one of the most vibrant and visited malls in the state. Chandler’s housing stock includes a vast array options for all income levels, and some of the lowest costs when it comes to municipal utilities, property and sales tax rates.
Chandler’s leadership continues to place a premium on health and fitness as well. Several recreation centers, a 7.5-mile-long biking and jogging trail, numerous golf courses, one of the top tennis centers in the United States, and hundreds of classes and sports leagues for people of all ages. Employees simply love it here.
Alright, you can see the draw, so let’s look at the bottom line as decisions are made to locate and expand in the state, region and Chandler specifically.
Economic Incentives in Arizona
Arizona delivers a streamlined tax system that lowers the cost of doing business. Arizona – and Chandler’s — business friendly atmosphere results in corporate taxation rates among the lowest in the nation. Sometimes less is more. In this case, a lot more. Arizona has no franchise tax, no business inventory tax, and no estate tax. The Arizona Commerce Authority boasts a continuing 10-year trend of property tax reductions, with business property taxes reduced by up to 10 percent, along with an enhanced accelerated depreciation program for real and personal property of businesses that can dramatically reduce the cost of doing business here.
In Chandler, several attractive business incentives are available. At the Chandler Municipal Airport and surrounding nine-square-mile airpark, a Foreign Trade Zone designation is available. This means no import tariff payments for manufacturers that use intermediate goods to export final goods, and a 72-percent reduction for real and personal property taxes (from 18 percent to 5 percent).
The Quality Jobs Tax Credit program encourages business investment and the creation of high-quality employment opportunities in Arizona by providing tax credits to employers creating a minimum number of net new quality jobs and making a minimum capital investment.
In addition, the Quality Jobs tax credit — earned over a three-year period for each new employee trained — provides income tax credits of up to $9,000 for each new quality job created. You can learn more about these incentive programs at: chandleraz.gov/business or through the Arizona Commerce Authority at azcommerce.com.
Why not Chandler?
As a developer who is investing deeply in Chandler with my WingSpan Business Investment’s aviation center at the city’s airport, I can easily envision steady growth for Chandler’s already robust economy. With a pro-business attitude, a great quality of life, and many available business incentives more CEO’s need to take a closer look and change their mindset from one of ‘Why Chandler?’ to ‘Why not Chandler?’