Mayors Stress Job Creation, Partnership With State

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Payson Mayor Kenny Evans joined mayors from around Arizona last week at the state Capitol to urge the Legislature to let cities and towns lead the way on job creation and not to preempt those efforts with legislation that erodes local control.

Evans said the Legislature has made strides to create jobs, but then hurts local efforts with excessive micromanaging of cities.

“It’s like they are giving us nitrous oxide to increase the horsepower of our motor, and then throwing two anchors out the back,” Evans said. “We cannot have the kind of uncertainty that this mishmash of rules and regulations that keep getting hatched and re-hatched creates for an industry.”

Mayors’ Day at the Capitol included meetings with legislative House and Senate leaders, Gov. Jan Brewer’s staff and the media to talk about the vital role cities and towns play in attracting and retaining high-quality jobs.

Led by Clarkdale Mayor Doug Von Gausig, president of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, the contingent of mayors included Evans, Jonathan Rothschild of Tucson, Elaine Scruggs of Glendale, Scott Smith of Mesa, Greg Stanton of Phoenix and Jay Tibshraeny of Chandler.

The mayors delivered a unified message that Arizona’s cities and towns have been successful in bringing quality jobs to the state, and that some of the legislation moving through the House threatens to impede the ongoing economic recovery.

“The message I want to deliver to the state Legislature is let cities do what they need to do,” said Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. “We are the people that really need to be motivated by the business community.”

Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said that bills designed to exert legislative control over city elections, to outlaw photo radar enforcement and to provide tax credits to businesses that believe they have been “overregulated” will add layers of government oversight and stifle economic development.

“It’s a little bit disconcerting when we see at the Legislature what seems to be yesterday’s news, solving problems that really don’t exist to the level that they might have existed, they’re merely perceptions,” Smith said. “We see a lot of solutions running around chasing problems.”

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said lawmakers should be partners with cities on job creation, not road blocks.

“We want our friends at the Legislature to do all they can, not to interfere with the job creation at the city level,” Stanton said. “Be our partner. Don’t pass bills that hurt our ability to create jobs.”

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