Thank you, Mayor Hakim, for that warm introduction.
And thank you all for that gracious welcome! It is certainly an honor to be back in Bullhead City.
You know, I remember being out here in March to help dedicate the Tri-State Shooting Park.
Well, today, I had the pleasure of helping to celebrate another
significant addition to your community...
So, if you would
please help me welcome Golden Vertex to
Not only is this new venture poised to bring more than one hundred quality jobs to your local economy it will also create more than $8 Million in initial capital investment.
In most places in Arizona, we'd consider that to be a "gold mine."
In Bullhead City, it literally is a gold mine!
These kinds of developments are further proof that our State -- including rural Arizona -- is on the road to recovery.
And your city is a huge part of our success.
So, thank you Bullhead City and thank you, Golden Vertex. You have chosen a wonderful place to live and do business.
You see, since becoming Governor, I've made it a personal mission to make Arizona the best place in the country to do business.
I'm going to tell you a little bit about what I think that means.
But first, I want to applaud you!
Our economy was built by people like you: Hard-working risk-taking job-creators.
You are the ones responsible for making sure a business is run well and successfully.
Your work keeps moms and dads employed and puts food on the family table.
I learned at a young age the value of hard work, responsibility and persistence. My first job was in a dress shop my mother opened after my father passed away. I was 11 years old, and I worked side-by-side with her for 9 years.
I saw first-hand what it took to keep an enterprise like that going -- the worry, the juggling, the competition.
People who've never run a business can't begin to appreciate the effort it takes to make an enterprise succeed.
Well, I do. And I applaud you.
That personal business experience -- and the life lessons it brought -- have stuck with me as I've advanced through my time in public service.
I hear all the time from business people about what they need to succeed.
They want lean regulations, competitive tax policy and a government that removes barriers rather than creating them.
Since I became Governor in 2009, we have been working hard to build the economic environment that your businesses need to thrive.
We've been busy cutting red tape and unnecessary regulation.
With the help of legislative leaders such as Representative Doris Goodale, we lowered corporate taxes lowered capital gains taxes lowered corporate property taxes and lowered business personal property taxes.
This past legislative session, we simplified Arizona's sales tax system.
That's something I've been trying to get done for 30 years!
Previously, we had arguably the most complicated and burdensome tax code in the country.
If you've done business outside of Arizona, you know exactly what I mean.
In most states, companies file a single tax return file a single check and are subjected to a single audit.
In Arizona, the sales tax system was an administrative nightmare. Simply put, it hampered businesses from focusing on what they do best: creating jobs.
Taxes in Arizona should be nationally competitive, simple and predictable.
Thanks to bipartisan support from our lawmakers, they now will be.
You see, in Arizona, we respect the free market. We promote competition. And we foster job creation.
That formula has resulted in an economic recovery we call the Arizona Comeback.
When I became governor, Arizona's economy was in a freefall. I inherited a multi-billion dollar budget deficit deemed the worst in the nation.
Fast-forward four years to today, and you can see why Arizona is nationally-recognized as a success story.
For one, our state is adding jobs at the fastest clip in years. In fact, Arizona ranked 5th nationally for job growth last year.
Arizona is now rated the nation's best state for entrepreneurs and among the top 10 for business owners.
Forbes Magazine ranks us number two for business growth prospects.
Here in Arizona, we're constantly looking for ways to grow our economy.
And every policy we've pursued --- every reform we've implemented --- has been guided by conservative, freemarket principles.
Case in point: just look at the success of the Arizona Commerce Authority.
The ACA was established out of a complete, much-needed overhaul of the old Arizona Department of Commerce. Now, it is the state's leading organization for attracting companies and jobs to Arizona.
Since its inception, the ACA has helped attract more than one and a half Billion dollars in capital investment -- and it's only 2 years old!
In just a few short years, the State of Arizona has created 148,000 new jobs. The ACA has been instrumental in attracting thousands of those including more than 13 hundred in rural Arizona alone.
And to make sure that rural Arizona continues to have a voice in these efforts, we created the Rural Business Development Advisory Council. It has representatives from all 15 counties.
ACA also established what we call a Certified Sites Program, which showcases ready-to-go properties in the state.
This gives communities like Bullhead City broad exposure to attract these all-important new jobs.
Here in Arizona, we know that tourism is one of our greatest economic drivers and we're constantly looking for ways to improve upon its successes.
I'm proud to see the Arizona Office of Tourism and the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center have partnered to do just that.
Their Marketing Cooperative program targets places like Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix.
And they have worked diligently to bring valuable tourism dollars right here, including for big events like your Bullhead City Regatta.
The Office of Tourism also is using a 7 Million-dollar allocation to launch a national advertising campaign to market Arizona.
That includes a special effort to promote our unique, rural destinations to travelers, including the Colorado River.
Speaking of rivers, we also have work to do on the rivers of commerce that move goods and services and connect markets and producers.
We have a big gap in our national river of commerce and Mohave County is right in the middle of it.
The two biggest cities in the nation not directly connected by the interstate system are Phoenix and Las Vegas.
Well, I'm proud to say my administration has been working on a proposal to build that connection. We call it Interstate 11.
I-11 not just about Phoenix and Vegas, though.
Long-term, I want Arizona to be the preferred route for companies shipping goods and products back and forth from Mexico -- our largest trading partner, by far.
That's why we've worked so hard with the federal government to expand the Mariposa Port of Entry, in Nogales.
We've also continued to champion a new commercial port of entry at San Luis II.
Success of these projects would help create business opportunities across Arizona -- including right here in Mohave County.
Of course, building the I-11 won't be easy. Or cheap.
But I believe in this project and I know we're going to make it a reality.
You see, Arizona is no stranger to overcoming obstacles.
We know that the difficult route usually ends up being the right route and we're not afraid to pursue it.
The Arizona Comeback is a testament to that.
So, with that, I want to say "Thank you." It has been an honor to be in the company of the very people who've helped write Arizona's success story.
Keep up the great work.