business sector does not turn on the fortunes of a few mammoth firms or the fortunes of a single industry. Scottsdale issues about 28,000 business licenses a year to companies of all sizes. Where they are clustered together - as in the Scottsdale Airpark - they form one of the Valley’s biggest engines of job creation, a real economic powerhouse. Since the year 2000 over 20,000 new jobs have been created in Scottsdale. SkySong alone will add several thousand high quality jobs.
We are blessed with an excellent and diversified economic base, the result of targeted strategic economic policy. But we cannot take this for granted. The entrepreneurs who locate in Scottsdale are here by choice. Their businesses are here for the same reasons that visitors flock to our resorts. They expect a clean, well-maintained, attractive place with safe streets and excellent, reliable services. We deliver.
Fortune Magazine recently canvassed the country to find cities with the best mix of business advantages and lifestyle appeal. Scottsdale was chosen as one of the perfect places to build your dream.
We must keep investing in our city and keep delivering, whether the economy is booming or slowing.
In those years when Scottsdale has additional revenue for the short-term, we don't count on extra dollars to be there forever. Instead, we channel them to one-time capital uses. When the economy slows, the share of revenues going to these one-time purposes is reduced. This approach helps keep our basic services insulated from shifts in the economy.
This is one of the reasons why Scottsdale has achieved the highest possible bond ratings starting in 2002. These natural AAA ratings will save us about $26 million over the life of the bonds. Conservative fiscal management is the key. In the last ten years, we have voted to reduce the combined property tax rate every single year, taking it from $1.57 to $.79. Scottsdale’s property tax rate is less than 50 percent of the tax rate of neighboring Phoenix, which is $1.82.
With the City of Scottsdale's great fiscal track record and our delivery of wonderful services even in difficult economic times, does the city need to be more deeply involved in shaping Scottsdale’s economic future? Why not just issue business licenses, keep the streets paved, and let the rest take care of itself?
Well, the problem is, that's not the Scottsdale Way. In this city, we have a proven tradition of being visionary - in land use, in economic vitality, in everything we do. We are, after all, Scottsdale. Let me give you an example of what I mean.