I'm pleased to be here in Toronto - leading a delegation focused on two CRUCIAL assets to our economies: tourism and trade.
Allow me to introduce two key members of my delegation: Sandra Watson with the Arizona Commerce Authority and Sherry Henry from the Arizona Office of Tourism.
On behalf of our delegation, I would like to thank you for your time and interest in Arizona.
I'm deeply committed to advancing Arizona's economic recovery and prosperity.
And, we're making great progress. I call it the Arizona Comeback.
The Global economic crisis has hit every Nation and every region.
In order to ensure a strong and lasting comeback, I led an effort to enhance Arizona's competitiveness -- thus, improving our business operating environment to be one of the best in the United States.
My strategy engaged the top, brightest and best business talent in Arizona. The result was the creation of the Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona's leading economic development organization.
We began reforming areas of our tax structure that burdened employers, particularly those who have large capital investments.
We enacted better ways to treat business property taxes and capital gains.
I signed into law measures that encourage investment in small businesses, aid start-up companies and provide serious new incentives to companies that bring corporate headquarters to Arizona.
We are also reforming our public education system by creating a long term plan that increases standards and accountability with the goal of doubling the number of college graduates by 2020.
Ultimately, we have designed an environment to foster growth among existing Arizona companies, while establishing Arizona as an attractive location for businesses worldwide.
This is an aggressive new approach of how we are helping businesses grow, re-locate and - most importantly - create high-value jobs that are so important to families.
My efforts have led to a steady decline in Arizona's unemployment. And forecasts point to employment gains in all sectors over the next two years - adding nearly 103 thousand jobs.
Chief Executive Magazine recognizes Arizona's business climate in its top 10. We are a leader in job growth in the U.S.
The Kauffman Foundation names Arizona as the number one place in the United States for entrepreneurs to start and operate a business.
We're also ranked number one for our quality and availability of workforce.
Arizona is consistently in the top three among alternative energy leaders and number one in solar energy manufacturing.
And let's not forget one of our most critical economic drivers: tourism. At last count, nearly 38-million visitors spent close to $18-billion throughout Arizona.
Canada has been a LOYAL tourism and trade partner for many years. On behalf of my delegation, I thank you for discovering Arizona.
From its red rock mountains, sparkling lakes and serene deserts -- the Grand Canyon State is a place of traditions and legacies.
Arizona offers great destinations
A strategic location with a highly-skilled workforce
Low payroll taxes, and
The right climate that makes good business sense.
On behalf of Arizona, I thank you for sharing this exciting and important occasion with me and my delegation.
I look forward to seeing you in Arizona.
I would now like to introduce Sandra Watson of my Arizona Commerce Authority. She will share with you more about Arizona's competitive business environment.