Goldwater Study Says Pima County Should Streamline Regulations, Focus On Public Services To Improve Economy

In 2015 Pima County officials put taxpayers on the hook for $15 million in new debt in order to build a new headquarters for a private company called World View Enterprises. County officials said they were subsidizing this business to help improve the economy. In a new study released today, a California State Northridge professor explains that subsidizing individual companies at the expense of taxpayers and other businesses is rarely a recipe for economic success. Instead, she recommends the County focus on reducing regulations and improving community services that will benefit all businesses.

“Instead of negotiating subsidies to individual private firms, such as World View, Pima County should focus on efforts that make the community attractive to firms in general and to the workers they might hire,” said Shirley V. Svorny, Ph.D., an economics professor at California State University Northridge. “The County would be best off directing its resources toward local public services.”

To spur economic activity, Dr. Svorny says local governments have several alternatives to risky, World View-like deals. Her new study, Economic Development in Pima County, outlines several alternatives, including:

  • Limiting unnecessary regulations that raise firms’ costs and reduce their competitive
  • position.
  • Revising zoning laws to facilitate location decisions and to reduce the costs of the
  • permitting process.
  • Limiting Pima County influence over land use decisions.
  • Lowering business and individual tax rates.
  • Prioritizing the provision of core services and producing them efficiently. Amenities
  • such as road maintenance, public safety, and the maintenance of open spaces for recreation are attractive to firms and to the employees they hope to hire.
  • Reducing the cost of local government services through privatization or vouchers. Both may create competition that encourages efficiency and improves service quality.
  • Privatizing incremental highway infrastructure to reduce construction costs and speed up progress.
  • Reducing traffic congestion and pollution through the use of variable rate highway tolls.

Dr. Svorny also recommends Pima County capitalize on the significant private investments the Port of Tucson and Union Pacific Railroad have already made to make Pima County a lynchpin in cross-border trade. Pima County should encourage additional investment in the port, by making the business and land-use permitting process easy, fast, and predictable, and allowing private development of new roads and infrastructure, she says.

“With the recent improvements to the Port of Tucson the port has the potential to serve as a major point of interchange for goods moving across the U.S. There is not much that can be done at the local level about the uncertainty over trade with Mexico created by the current presidential administration,” said Dr. Svorny. “But any company considering a move to Pima County to take advantage of the port should not be put off by a County planning process that explicitly favors companies that promise high-skill jobs at the expense of other jobs that may ultimately put more Arizonans to work.”

Read the new report Economic Development in Pima County here.

10 Comments on "Goldwater Study Says Pima County Should Streamline Regulations, Focus On Public Services To Improve Economy"

  1. What, Again | April 21, 2017 at 3:40 am |

    Dr. Svorny makes one huge mistake in her assessment. She assumes Pima County (and Tucson) want to spur economic activity. They don’t. They want to be commune, wholly run by the government, for the government.

  2. Working Man Blues | April 21, 2017 at 5:55 am |

    The Bill Assenmacher’sand Don Diamond’s of Pima County and CofT won’t let any of the Drs recommendations come to fruition. They would have to compete like the little guys which doesn’t fit their business model. So they keep funding Bronsoons campaign cause they like things just the way they are.

  3. Pima County Supervisors just want to ride in the “big beautiful balloon” to the edge of “space” so the spot below of the Pima County mess they created is just a “speck” below their feet. The voters below will just look in wonder on the “drug induced” high taking meaningless shots with their cell phones, some while driving! Too bad many of the Pima County population will never read the ADI to educate themselves how they are being screwed.

  4. “Making the business and land-use permitting process easy, fast, and predictable”.
    Lets don’t forget construction permitting for home and road building. A simple addition to your report might be using local contractors. It would surely lower construction costs which in turn could lower taxes putting more $ into the local folks pockets for spending if we had Ally running this town. Most folks wonder how a contractor from out of state or even out of town can manage to do a job cheaper then a local? Well, maybe it’s low bid followed by big change orders that make up that extra gold. We have many great contractors in Tucson that have been in Tucson over 40 years! They know what they’re are doing. They do quality work or they wouldn’t still be around! Starting with the basics will improve our economy and that will bring new businesses. Not our so-called leaders subsidising (bribing) the big boys with OUR tax money. They have no right. That’s stealing plain and clear.
    Most can see that a big problem here is the permitting process and the fees that have no basis or reasoning of how they came up with them. Regulation cuts should begin with the EPA “clean water act” BS. If any any authority with the COT or pima county doesn’t like the way you comb your hair while building your project they can always find and hit you with a fine or stop project by using the EPA umbrella of rules. Tolls for highway use? That might help if we had any other decent roads to use. Dr. Svorny I’m glad you see much of the obvious but respectfully, your report is not suggesting anything that We The People haven’t already asked for or demanded. We can tell you now that asking for taxes be lowered here is like asking for new blacktop on our roads. It ain’t happening!

  5. Even you “Rs” need to call your AZ legislature to pass SB1376, Which would be by the people for the people.

  6. but they have the queen democart and her hubbie to give the 15 million dollars to… what could possibly go wrong?

  7. they already spent the money, how they got it, what happen, how did they get around any questioning and stops early on are moot points – sure don’t allow it again, but the do da days of how or what should have happen are by gone questions, the building is built etc. my question is what’s the collateral if it doesn’t work – how does the county tax payer get his money back? It they lack a way to do so, I’d suggest those that were catalyst to spend and clear this to happen be held liable – perhaps there is even some criminal charges

  8. Luke Abrams | April 22, 2017 at 1:21 pm |

    Dr. Svorny has some nice ideas but NONE of them address the problem besetting Pima County voters and taxpayers. County Administer Huckleberry and his three Grijalva Stooges on the Board of Supervisors ignore our laws as well as their own regulations to suit their purposes and when push comes to shove, have the votes to change any of them to achieve their corrupt ends.
    If Pima voters want reform, they must change the Board of Supervisor majority and get rid of Huckleberry and the fastest way to do that is to recall Bronson and in her place elect someone like Kim Demarco.

  9. Why do people think that privatizing everything is a good thing? It isn’t always the case. I seriously doubt that anybody has extra money for toll booths to drive on a road that is needed by everyone. It is a scam on the people when taxes are already taken to fix the roads if the legislators would stop stealing it.

  10. Both Pima county government and Tucson city government is full of inefficiencies and Waste. Too many overpaid bureaucrats, managers and positions that are not needed. Instead of raising taxes, reduce the size of government by reducing the amount of needless jobs and use that money to provide the services needed for this community

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