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Goddard kicks off campaign with tour
As part of a two-day statewide tour kicking off his campaign for governor, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard was in Yuma on Monday sharing some of his thoughts about economic restoration.
The three-time gubernatorial candidate said his primary focus, if elected, would be job creation and laid out the framework for a five-point plan for job development.
"I do think economic recovery is the key to fixing our budget in the long run," Goddard said.
Although he did not provide any specific details, Goddard said his plan called for attracting jobs of the future by giving tax credits and cuts for science-based, research-driven technological and renewable energy industries.
"These are areas where we have had a lot of prospects, but we have had a very hard time following through. We need to aggressively go after some of the renewable energy and high-tech jobs."
Also as part of the plan, Goddard said he wanted to create a statewide public-private entity to promote Arizona and attract jobs, similar to the Greater Phoenix Economic Council that he helped establish as Phoenix mayor in the 1980s.
"I'm surprised we don't do it. Our competitors are doing it.
"What we aren't doing is going into the boardrooms of New York, Washington, San Francisco and other places that potentially have relocating companies and make a case for our state."
The two other points, Goddard said, include diversifying the economy and giving better support to the traditional industries the state has relied on for many years.
Goddard said he is running for governor because he believes in the spirit and potential of Arizona and its residents.
He went on to say the state could ease its fiscal woes by ending billions of dollars in exemptions and loopholes in the state sales tax.
Goddard said he thinks there are other revenue options that could have been used to try and stimulate the economy that were never even considered.
He reiterated his stance on Prop 100, saying he could not support the temporary 1-cent sales tax increase that will go before voters on May 18 unless a bill that will cut corporate taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars gets vetoed.
While he couldn't promise that he wouldn't raise taxes, Goddard added that broadening the tax base was a better option.
Goddard did not provide much in the way of specific revenue options but did say things like cosmetic operations and country club memberships should become taxable.
Currently 80 percent of the budget's revenue is generated from service- based industries, which fluctuates widely.
Compounding that problem, Goddard said, is that 50 percent of the state sales tax is funded by the sales of cars and home purchases, both of which were hugely affected by the recession.
Goddard added that the road to economic recovery also goes through the schools and more money needs to be spent on education.
"We have seen a deterioration in the quality of education over the past 20 to 30 years. We need to set an audacious goal. Education in Arizona needs to move from the bottom 10 to the top 10."
Another of Goddard's goals, he said, is to promote bipartisan cooperation within state government.
Goddard is touring the state and visited Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma, on Monday. Today he will visit Kingman, Flagstaff, Winslow, Holbrook and Payson.
Goddard, 63, served as Phoenix mayor from 1984-1990. This will be his third run for governor, losing twice before: once to Republican Fife Symington in 1990 and again in 1994 to Eddie Basha Jr., who ran against him for the Democratic nomination.
He was elected attorney general in 2002 and re-elected in 2006.
Goddard is a native of Tucson. His father was Arizona governor from 1965 to 1967. He is a graduate of the Arizona State University Law School.
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6854.