An Economy That Works For Everyone

Life is pretty good for some Arizonans and that's great. There's no reason life can't be good for all of us.

Arizona is home to some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the U.S. – but the gap between the wealthy and everybody else in Arizona gets bigger every year.

There aren’t enough good paying jobs, and there aren’t training programs to help people do the jobs that are available. More than half of Arizona kids live in poor and low-income homes, even though 80% of their parents are working. Arizona earns a C- for the economic well-being of women. We are one of the poorest states in the nation.

This is wrong. It’s a big reason that companies like Amazon don’t want to bring their business here. We’re sick and tired of being told by our current governor that we just have to wait for his failed policies and irresponsible tax cuts to work.

We're done waiting. Here's how we begin building an economy that works for everyone.

Guiding Principles for Economic Development 


1. There are 15 counties in Arizona and every single one of them matters. Create, invest in and execute a 15 county economic development plan.

2. Economic sustainability and equity will never “trickle down.” Use “bottom up” approaches to create economic growth that benefits all of us, not just a few at the very top.

3. Make corporations pay their fair share. Shift existing tax credits & incentives to make them smarter and more effective. 

4. Reject the idea of scarcity – this isn’t a zero sum game – one group doesn’t have to lose so that someone else can win.

5. Partner with management-labor groups, small business organizations and worker groups to create smart solutions that benefit everyone.

6. Increase revenue to fund our shared priorities with a fairer tax structure and innovative, equitable user fees.

7. Be bold and seek innovative solutions to narrowing the income gap and ending poverty.



Key Policy Proposals 


1. Reward companies that create good jobs & pay good wages.

Arizona voters passed a minimum wage increase in 2016. We will protect that decision and build on it. But a minimum wage is just that – and, even at $15/hr, it isn’t enough to support a family. In order for our economy to thrive, workers in Arizona must receive living wages. So, we’re going to stop giving tax breaks to companies just because some politician owes them a favor, and we’re going to stop giving tax incentives to those who promise to create jobs. We’re going to reward companies who actually do it. We’ll bring workers and firms together on a wage board to agree on regional, industry-standard wages and we’ll use these prevailing wages for all state-funded construction projects, service contract workers, programs funded by the state, and for all other forms of state spending. Arizona businesses that pay the prevailing wage will receive tax credits for the dollars they spend on payroll tax. This is a corporate tax cut that will actually benefit working families.

2. Invest in locally owned, small businesses in all 15 counties across our state. 

It’s great when we can attract big companies from outside Arizona to come here, but the payoff from locally owned high tech, transportation, sustainable energy and other businesses; family farms, vineyards and breweries; and Main Street shops and restaurants, etc., is even bigger. We’ll make their success and growth – using smart tax incentives, community financing tools, strategic investment, small business training and state procurement policies that prioritize locally owned businesses  – a top priority in every single neighborhood, city and county across the state. The Arizona Angel Investment Tax Credit must be renewed and expanded, which gives much needed seed capital to start-up and early-stage technology companies in Arizona.

3. Put people to work in renewable energy and by rebuilding Arizona’s infrastructure.

Arizona’s roads, bridges, water pipes and public transportation system got a D- last year. We’re going to fix them and hire Arizonans to do it. We’ll start by ending the practice of stealing from state funds that are supposed to fix the roads to cover up budget deficits created by irresponsible tax cuts. We’ll also shift away from reliance on gas taxes and implement a fairer (and more profitable) Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) user fee. This raises revenue to do what matters while making taxes more fair for everyone. A VMT will also be a new source of funding to expand public transportation and invest in renewable energy technology across the state, creating jobs while protecting the environment.

4. Eliminate barriers to entering the workforce and ensure the health & safety of Arizona workers and their families.

Repeal so-called “right to work” laws: States where organized labor is strong have higher wages, more benefits and better conditions for ALL workers, and those states have healthier overall economies to the benefit of business owners and everyone in the state. Invest in sector-specific workforce training. Follow the lead of at least 12 other states and enable everyone who lives within our borders to get a driver’s license. Pass a high quality child care tax credit to give every working family in Arizona access to quality, affordable child care. Ensure access to paid sick days. Partner with labor-management teams and worker organizations to establish expanded standards for family leave, and use corporate tax credits to reward companies who adopt and implement those standards. Guarantee universal healthcare and access to comprehensive reproductive health services to all Arizonans. Partner with worker groups to hold businesses accountable when they break labor laws, and use the fines collected to educate workers on their rights and to support victims of wage theft in legal proceedings. Partner with labor-management partnerships and worker organizations to establish high-quality, sector-based training and licensing requirements that will build a more professionalized workforce and lead to increased pay for workers.

5. There are examples of forward-thinking approaches to economic development that put “people first” all across the U.S. Let’s look at them and bring what works to Arizona.

North Dakota has had a public bank for decades, which keeps North Dakota dollars in North Dakota and gives local famers, ranchers and business owners access to hard-to-find capital. We’ll take a serious look at creating a public bank here in Arizona for the same reasons. A basic minimum income is another bold idea embraced by Silicon Valley leaders, conservative economists and progressives alike as a response to the threat technology poses to 80% of American jobs. Studies show it will reduce social unrest during dramatic economic shifts, increase small business start-ups, end poverty and reduce government interference in our lives. We will approach thought leaders and social investors to create a pilot project in Arizona. These are just two examples – there are many. We don’t have to wait until we catch some “big fish” company from out of state to come save us. We can create sustainable, robust, equitable economic growth right here, right now.

What are YOUR ideas to build an economy that works for everyone?

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Learn more about Kelly's vision for Arizona.