Tag Archives: california

phil-mickelson-masters-2006_t640

An open letter to Phil Mickelson

Dear Phil,

I read your recent comments about the crushing tax burden California has imposed on wage earners like yourself. You said that you might even move out of California. Allow me to suggest Arizona – your former home – as your next home.

Though my time playing golf is usually limited to courses where I try to hit the ball into a miniature windmill, you and I have a lot in common. We’re both left-handers. We’re both Arizona State grads, you with a Bachelor’s, me from the law school. You’re a member of the ASU athletics Hall of Fame. I enjoy watching ASU sports.

More importantly, though, we both understand the impact high taxes have on a state’s economy and its hard working residents. A high-tax environment drives capital and people out of state, which explains why California is currently experiencing an unprecedented exodus of wealth.

It’s apparent you’re not alone in your high-tax sentiments. Even your sometimes rival on the golf course, Tiger Woods, said California’s high-tax environment is why he left the state for Florida.

California’s current top income tax rate of 13.3 percent is a good enough reason to pack up one’s clubs and move on.

Sure, California has sandy beaches and sunshine, but that doesn’t dull the sting of paying out nearly half your income in total taxes. It’s hard to enjoy the ocean when you’re watching your hard earned money float out to sea.

Arizona has sunshine and sand (traps), too. And while California has been pursuing a flawed economic strategy, we’ve been making all the right moves.

Over the past two years, Gov. Jan Brewer and the Legislature have worked hard to make Arizona a state that is known for job growth and creation. They’ve decreased the corporate income tax rate, lowered the tax on business property and equipment, cut taxes on investment income and have made Arizona’s tax code more attractive to businesses selling goods and services outside our borders.  While California was raising its taxes (again), our voters rejected a massive permanent tax hike. We’ve also balanced our budget.

The per-capita income going to taxes in Arizona is just 8.7 percent, compared to the national average of 9.8 percent and California’s burden of 11.8 percent. That leaves more money for vacations to your favorite beaches (including those in California) or for purchasing a Major League Baseball team.

We’ve also cut back on unnecessary regulations, freeing up businesses to expand without the worry of frivolous government interference.  You can’t even go into a Starbucks in California without a Proposition 65 warning of the dangers of coffee.

All of these efforts have resulted in Arizona’s move up the leaderboard.  Arizona received the title of number one state for entrepreneurial activity in 2011 and was ranked a Top-10 state for business in 2012. We also ranked second – just behind North Dakota – for states with the best job-growth forecast.

I’ll put this all in terms you can appreciate:  If Arizona competed in The Masters of economic competitiveness, we’d end up with the coveted green jacket.

Phil, you know better than anyone that you can’t beat the golf here. You’re already a crowd favorite come Waste Management Phoenix Open time. So go pack your clubs and call the movers.

Just don’t take too long. I could really use some tips on my swing.

Sincerely,

Glenn

Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is committed to advancing Arizona’s competitive position in the global economy by advocating free-market policies that stimulate economic growth and prosperity for all Arizonans. 

Untitled

Greater Phoenix CVB promotes 3 as part of reorganization effort

The Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau, the nonprofit organization that markets metropolitan Phoenix as a visitor and meeting destination, has promoted Michael Mooney to the position of Executive Vice President.

Mooney, who previously held the title of Chief Operating Officer, will continue to serve in that role. He joined the Greater Phoenix CVB in 1997. In the 16 years since, he has risen in rank and responsibility, from Director of Information Technology to Chief Financial Officer to his new position as the CVB’s No. 2 executive.

Prior to joining the Greater Phoenix CVB, Mooney served as the senior financial and technology officer for a private enterprise that operated in the tourism-related realms of aviation, hotel lodging, restaurants, ground transportation and golf in Arizona, Washington, Hawaii, California and Nevada. Immediately preceding that career path, Mooney developed computer software for the casino industry, specializing in timekeeping, slot accounting and guest tracking.

Born in New Jersey, Mooney has called Phoenix home since his high school days.

Mooney’s promotion follows two other recent reorganization moves at the Greater Phoenix CVB: Melissa Gogel was promoted to Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Tourism; and Scott Dunn was elevated to Senior Director of Marketing and Communications.

Gogel, who has worked at the Greater Phoenix CVB since 2000, takes the supervisory reins of three departments: marketing (which is responsible for the CVB’s advertising, branding and website); communications (which coordinates media relations efforts); and tourism (which markets Phoenix to travel agencies and tour operators).

A native of Nashville, Gogel had previously served as Director of Marketing. She began her career at the CVB as an assistant in the Membership Department. Prior to coming to Phoenix she worked as a marketing analyst for Harold’s clothing stores in Norman, Okla.

Dunn, also a native Tennessean, has worked at the Greater Phoenix CVB for six years, serving as Communication Manager and Associate Director of Communication. Before coming to Phoenix he spent 14 years in the journalism industry, working as a reporter and editor at newspapers in Utah, New Mexico and South Carolina.

stk99406cor

Most Banner employees comply with ‘No Flu For You’ policy

A remarkable nearly 100 percent of Banner Health’s approximately 36,000 employees have complied with the company’s No Flu For You policy. This commitment by Banner employees, to decrease the risk of flu infections among fellow employees and patients, is especially timely as the Centers for Disease Control is predicting an early start to a potentially heavy and deadly flu season.

All employees and volunteers were required to receive the flu vaccine, which was offered at no cost. Those unable to receive the vaccination because of medical or religious reasons were able to receive an exemption but must wear masks during the flu season.

“Patients and families who turn to Banner Health can be assured that our employees have taken the necessary steps to ensure their safety and prevent the spread of the flu,” said Dr. Marjorie Bessel, M.D., chief medical officer for Banner’s Arizona East Region.

This policy is in place at all of Banner’s facilities including all of its acute-care hospitals and other healthcare facilities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. At least 11 states, including Colorado, have regulations enacted regarding influenza immunization of healthcare workers, either requiring immunization or signed declinations for medical, religious or philosophical reasons.

Banner continues to work with less than five employees who are not in compliance to ensure their return to the workplace. None of these employees are currently working at Banner facilities, so patients and their families can be assured Banner is doing its very best to protect everyone during the flu season.

The flu is a contagious and deadly disease, contributing to more than 36,000 preventable deaths annually in the U.S. Vaccination is a very effective way to prevent it. According for the Centers of Disease Control, flu vaccination of health care workers have been shown to help prevent death in patients, as well as reduce the influenza infection.

The flu shot that’s given to all health care workers and the general public this year protects against two strains of influenza A and influenza B virus. This year, shots became available in September since flu season typically begins in October with spikes in January and February. The vaccine protects for about one year.

About Banner Health
Headquartered in Phoenix, Banner Health is one of the largest, nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system owns or manages 23 acute-care hospitals, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services including physician clinics and home care and hospice services. Banner Health is in seven states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming.

104234506

Federal plan to streamline solar development in Arizona OK’d

Federal officials on Friday approved a plan that sets aside 285,000 acres of public land for the development of large-scale solar power plants, cementing a new government approach to renewable energy development in the West after years of delays and false starts.

The government is establishing 17 new “solar energy zones” on 285,000 acres in six states: California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. Most of the land — 153,627 acres — is in Southern California.

At a news conference in Las Vegas, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar called the new plan a “roadmap … that will lead to faster, smarter utility-scale solar development on public lands.”

The plan replaces the department’s previous first-come, first-served system of approving solar projects, which let developers choose where they wanted to build utility-scale solar sites and allowed for land speculation.

The department no longer will decide projects on case-by-case basis as it had since 2005, when solar developers began filing applications. Instead, the department will direct development to land it has identified as having fewer wildlife and natural-resource obstacles.

The Obama administration has authorized 10,000 megawatts of solar, wind and geothermal projects that, when built, would provide enough energy to power more than 3.5 million homes, Salazar said.

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said the effort will help the U.S. stay competitive.

“There is a global race to develop renewable energy technologies — and this effort will help us win this race by expanding solar energy production while reducing permitting costs,” Chu said in a statement.

The new solar energy zones were chosen because they are near existing power lines, allowing for quick delivery to energy-hungry cities. Also, the chosen sites have fewer of the environmental concerns — such as endangered desert tortoise habitat — that have plagued other projects.

Environmental groups like the Nature Conservancy who had been critical of the federal government’s previous approach to solar development in the desert applauded the new plan.

“We can develop the clean, renewable energy that is essential to our future while protecting our iconic desert landscapes by directing development to areas that are more degraded,” said Michael Powelson, the conservancy’s North American director of energy programs.

Some solar developers who already are building projects were complimentary of the new approach, saying it will help diversify the country’s energy portfolio more quickly.

Still, some cautioned that the new plan could still get mired in the same pattern of delay and inefficiency that hampered previous efforts, and urged the government to continue pushing solar projects forward.

“The Bureau of Land Management must ensure pending projects do not get bogged down in more bureaucratic processes,” said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Salazar said the country four years ago was importing 60 percent of its oil, and that today that number has dropped to 45 percent.

“We can see the energy independence of the United States within our grasp,” he said.

real estate - expanding to california

Valley Real Estate Company Branches Out Of Arizona

Local real estate brokerage firm HomeSmart is continuing to grow by opening franchises in California. The nationwide company based in Phoenix recently began making its way to other cities across the United States offering one of the most attractive business models in the real estate industry.

Since opening in January 2000, HomeSmart has had tremendous success by growing to over 4,300 agents in Arizona. Such unparalleled growth has catapulted HomeSmart to rank as the largest real estate brokerage in the southwestern United States and among the top ten brokerages in the country.

This month, HomeSmart has launched franchises in California including Santa Rosa, Modesto, and Palm Springs, as well as local offices in Ahwatukee and Green Valley. The real estate brokerage also has international operations in Beijing, China. Their goal is to open franchises in the top metropolitan cities in the U.S.

“We are excited to grow nationwide and for the future of HomeSmart,” said Founder Matt Widdows, who ranks in the Top Five National Independent Companies. “Our strong growth has driven us to begin franchising a year ago and we have seen our model and technology work in both small and large markets. We have built our reputation on exceptional customer service with our unique franchise package that gives our real estate brokers and agents a competitive advantage in this industry.”

HomeSmart’s proprietary software puts its franchise partners ahead of the curve. Developed by Widdows and his development team, the reputable systems are proven to save business owners huge costs attributed to web hosting, lead generation and back office systems. This allows the franchise owners to provide the technology to their agents for free while allowing them to keep 100 percent of their commissions. Other advantages to HomeSmart’s franchise program include a virtual receptionist, generous fee structure, and a full suite of branding and marketing products.

HomeSmart prides itself on successfully blending technology with a personal touch, something that is often lost in the industry. They continue to implement new technologies that empower its agents to provide outstanding service to their clients. This summer, HomeSmart will launch a new mobile application allowing residents to access market information at their fingertips. Users can take notes, rank properties, and share properties they like on social networking sites with friends.

The local brokerage donates time and money to many local charities, including Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Back to School 4 Kids, American Diabetes, Make a Wish Foundation and more.

For more information on HomeSmart, its franchise opportunities, and community outreach, please visit www.homesmartinternational.com. Follow HomeSmart on Facebook at www.facebook.com/homesmart.